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Ukraine's killer dune buggies
Ukraine's Killer Dune Buggies | GZERO World

Ukraine's killer dune buggies

Before Russia invaded Ukraine, metalworker Volodymyr Sadyk specialized in making gates at his shop in western Ukraine, near the Romanian border. But in his spare time, he and his friends also built and raced dune buggies.

When the war began, Volodymyr had an idea — he offered some of the buggies to the Ukrainian army, which was looking for ways to even the playing field against a much larger enemy. The response from Kyiv was immediate: send us more.

Today, Volodymyr and his crew of 7 men have made close to 60 custom buggies for the Ukrainian army. Light, rugged, and agile, the Mad Max-style vehicles are perfect for sniffing out Russian positions, swarming Russian columns with anti-tank fire, or evacuating wounded soldiers.

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Volodymyr Sadyk on his dune buggy in Ukraine.


Ukraine’s killer dune buggies

“Pah! pah! pah! pah!” Volodymyr Sadyk, a metalworker from western Ukraine, clambers into the seat of a battle-ready dune buggy in the yard of his shop near the Romanian border, imitating the sound of a heavy gun blasting away at Russian positions.

Sadyk is the founder of VOLS, a company that makes these custom buggies for the Ukrainian army.

Before the war, his speciality was metal gates, but in his spare time, Sadyk and his pals built and raced their own buggies – bare-bones, open-topped vehicles with big, rugged wheels, and screaming rear-mounted engines.

When Russia invaded last February, Sadyk had an idea — he offered some of them to the Ukrainian army. The feedback was immediate: send more.

Since the earliest days of the war, Ukrainians have come up with DIY ways like this to even the playing field against a much larger enemy. There was, for example, a moment early on when Ukraine’s tractors were briefly a social media sensation for taking on Russian tanks.

“War always produces innovation,” says Gian Gentile, a retired US Army colonel and military historian at the RAND Corporation. “But on top of that, the Ukrainians are fighting for their survival. It’s an existential fight for them, and this kind of inventiveness is the result of that.”

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