A Soviet KV-1 tank which sank in the Neva River near Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) during World War II has been successfully recovered from the bottom of the river in the Kirov district of northwestern Russia’s Leningrad Region.
"Despite the stormy weather and the depth exceeding 15 meters at this place, the operation for the retrieval of the future museum exhibit was successful," the press service chief for the Western Military District, Colonel Andrey Bobrun, was quoted by the Interfax-AVN agency on Thursday as saying.
The tank was recovered from the Neva by soldiers of the 90th Special Search Battalion of the Western Military District, in cooperation with staff of the Museum of the Battle for Leningrad. The operation was completed on Wednesday at 05:00 GMT.
Experts who examined the tank have concluded that, despite all these decades underwater, it is still in good condition and can now be restored to its original state. The remaining ammunition was taken by specialists of the Emergency Ministry for deactivation.
"There were no remains of the crew found inside the tank, and that suggests that they had escaped from the sinking battle machine,Bobrun continued.
We can already conclude that the tank was likely to have sunk while crossing the river on a pontoon on the way to the combat area. After determining serial numbers of the units and the assemblies of KV-1, the museum staff will be able to track the fate of the crew and even find their relatives."
Officials say that the tank, once restored, will be able to take part in historic parades and other activities.