MOSCOW, January 22 (RIA Novosti) – The United States and a number of European countries have asked to participate in Russia’s international tank biathlon, President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday.
“They filed a request with the Defense Ministry to participate. We will be happy [to have them],” Putin said while fielding questions from students at a Moscow university.
Russia invited the US to participate back in August at a meeting of defense officials.
The first tank biathlon was held in the Moscow suburb of Alabino in August last year. This year’s competition is planned to run from July 26 to August 10.
The tank biathlon is analogous to the Olympic event. Tank crews must navigate a 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) course that includes obstacles such as a slalom run, water crossings, bridges and steep climbs.
The tanks must also accurately shoot a set of targets at distances of up to 2.2 kilometers (1.4 miles) that simulate other tanks and low-flying helicopters.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement Wednesday that more than 40 countries had expressed interest in participating.
Putin said the event helps promote the nation’s defense industry, noting that Russia is second only to the US in terms of the volume of arms exports.