Combatants of the so-called "Wagner" PMC showed how they use the newest modernization of the T-72 main battle tank, the T-90M "Proryv". The performance was captured in a video report from media outlet FAN belonging to "Wagner's" owner Yevgeny Prigozhin.
As mentioned in the report, it was filmed near Opytne village, outskirts of Bakhmut city, Eastern Ukraine. This is one of the hottest areas of the war right now, and we can hear anti-aircraft guns firing nearby during the video. It is said a "Pantsir" system is close by, which means this is not frontline.
However, the T-90M in the video was shown used in a role typical for self-propelled artillery, namely indirect fire from a safe position. As follows from the tank commander's words, this is a common practice.
Important to note: although using a tank this way is surely possible, it leads to quick wearing of the barrel. The result is a drastic decrease of the tank's real effectiveness as a combat vehicle.
Typically, it's used when there are no other means of artillery fire in proximity, which is not common for the russians per se. Especially since they have concentrated a lot of artillery in that particular area.
There are some other details that got on camera. For example, the fact that the tank commander has to use a portable receiver for radio communication while looking out of the hatch.
There could be any reason for this, such as the internal receivers being out of order. But one of the likely explanations is that standard communication tools of the T-90M cannot communicate with the "infantry" receivers, or maybe all "Wagnerites" as a principle use their own means of communication other than the russian regular army.
The T-90M commander also mentioned a few more interesting aspects such as that the list of ammunition for the T-90M includes munitions with remote detonation, or complained about the weight of the vehicle which limits the passability.
But instead of a thousand of his words, there are details on the turret caught on camera that tell us much more.
In particular, the tank's crew put additional plates between the elements of the standard reactive armor. And for some reason, they put wire around the day sight of the gunner.
There are still questions though. The most curious one is how a T-90M, practically straight from the plant, gets to the "Wagner" units instead of russian regular ones. Perhaps Prigozhin's political value allows him to place orders for vehicles directly to "Uralvagonzavod" plant or take it from the russian ministry of defense.
Read more: Wagner Mercenaries Say They Shoot With Pantsir-S1 SAM Almost "Without Coordination" And See Drawbacks In the Quality