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These mobile repair shops save Ukrainian soldiers precious time

by Alexander Khrebet July 4, 2024 8:32 PM 4 min read
People stand near a mobile repair workshop in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on June 7, 2024. (Alexander Khrebet / The Kyiv Independent)
by Alexander Khrebet July 4, 2024 8:32 PM 4 min read
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CHERNIHIV, Ukraine – At Ukraine’s 50th Regiment's repair and restoration facility, officers, soldiers, and volunteers watched as a self-loading container truck lowered onto the ground a black shipping container with an installed repair workshop inside.

The Tvii Krok (Your Step) charity, which designed this mobile repair complex, known as Workshop Locker, was handing it over to the regiment. The workshop can be used for quick repairs in the field and is capable of handling engines, gearboxes, and welding tasks for trucks and armored vehicles.

"This module will be used for the restoration and repair of military equipment,” Colonel Vitaliy Bakhmat, commander of the 50th Regiment, told the Kyiv Independent after volunteers had delivered the workshop to his unit.

“The modules are suitable for almost all foreign and domestic equipment.”

Tvii Krok, established in December 2022 by a Kharkiv business specializing in tools and equipment for car services, raises funds and then buys and delivers drones, electronic warfare systems, and homegrown mobile workshops to the front lines.

The charity makes two other versions of its mobile repair workshop: the Big-Locker tire service complex for trucks, armored vehicles, and cars, and the Locker, a mobile workshop on an all-wheel-drive truck.

"Everything is made in Ukraine and costs $10,000," Dmytro Vilchynskyi, the charity’s deputy director, told the Kyiv Independent on the way back to Kyiv, adding that foreign analogs with delivery would cost almost eight times more.

The charity’s engineers developed the workshop in less than a month, and the first workshop was handed to the military four months later.

The charity has already assisted 50 units, including the military intelligence’s Kraken unit, the 47th, 92nd, and 3rd Brigades, and various separate battalions.

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Despite their usefulness, it can be hard to raise funds to build more of the workshops, Vilchynskyi said.

“Everyone understands what a drone or an electronic warfare system is. But few understand that logistics is behind all this. And logistics directly involves the repair of equipment, and timely, high-quality maintenance.”

“Sometimes a wrench can be as useful as an first-person view drone."

Brigadier General Mykhailo Sydorenko, Northern Command Deputy Commander, said this particular delivered complex would stay in the north. Russia attacks Chernihiv, Sumy, and Kharkiv oblasts in the north and east of the country with missiles, artillery, drones, and gliding bombs daily.

Brigadier General Mykhailo Sydorenko, Northern Command Deputy Commander, in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on June 7, 2024. (Alexander Khrebet / The Kyiv Independent)
Brigadier General Mykhailo Sydorenko, Northern Command deputy commander, in Chernihiv, Ukraine, on June 7, 2024. (Alexander Khrebet / The Kyiv Independent)

"Even if a vehicle breaks down or requires maintenance on the front line, specialists will arrive within an hour, fix everything, and avoid the risks (of being spotted) in large repair trucks," Sydorenko tells the Kyiv Independent.

"Modern combat requires camouflage, maneuverability, and other things unrelated to repairs,” he says. “This complex replaces much of the old fleet and is really needed by repair units for maintaining equipment not only on the front lines, but also in the rear.”

Pavlo, a soldier with the 50th Regiment who declined to give his last name, was the first to examine the insides of the container.

He said the mobile workshop would be especially useful for repairing the U.S.-designed armored MaxxPro mine-resistant ambush-protected armored fighting vehicle, as it’s hard to transport this heavy vehicle far from the front lines.

“The tractors will bring a MaxxPro to a safe place, and we’ll be able to restore it without any problems,” Pavlo, a mechanic, told the Kyiv Independent.

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