The new unmanned firepower was inspected by Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu this week, at the 766th Production and Technological Enterprise in Nakhabino near Moscow.
“The first unit with strike robots will be set up in the Russian Armed Forces to operate five Uran-9 robotic systems or 20 combat vehicles,” announced the defence ministry.
Troops would undergo training “to operate Uran-9 robotic vehicles in special military units”, it was announced.
A video shows the unmanned tank in action.
It is armed with a 30mm automatic gun, Ataka anti-tank missiles and Shmel flamethrowers.
The latest news of the new technology comes as Putin’s troops boast they are primed for battle.
A video leaked earlier today captioned ‘Ready for conflict’ appears to show armoured vehicles moving through the mud and into position near the flashpoint border.
The chilling clip, thought to have been filmed by Russian soldiers, also shows a train convoy of military trucks moving within striking distance of Ukraine.
Kiev estimates there are now 85,000 Russian troops between six and 25 miles from its frontier and in Crimea.
The Russian army currently possesses mine clearance robots called Uran-6, firefighting Uran-14s, as well as assault Uran-9s.
Underwater and spy robots are also in development.
Shoigu ordered the robot designers to improve the technical capacity of his unmanned army to overcome the impact of “strong electromagnetic radiation as well as radioactive pollution”.
“We expect to continue expanding the range of robots, which, of course, are already in demand in the military today,” he said.
“These will be heavy robots (for mine clearance) and everything related to the further development of scouts, radiation and chemical reconnaissance robots.
“This applies to surface and underwater robots.”
The strike and mining clearance robots have been battle tested in Syria, ahead of the formation of the first unit.
“Shortcomings were identified during the tests in Syria. In particular, the issues of control, reduced mobility, and unsatisfactory military intelligence and surveillance functions had been considered by engineers and were rectified,” said Vladimir Dmitriev, head of the Kalashnikov Concern.
It is unclear if Russia is deploying its new-age robot tanks with the massing of firepower now underway on Ukraine’s borders.
Kiev today warned that Putin could very soon spark a war in the pro-Moscow rebel-held east of the country.
Defence minister Andrii Taran accused the Kremlin of provoking a crisis, but added only Putin would determine whether blood would be spilled.
“It should be noted that the intensification of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine is possible only if an appropriate political decision is made at the highest level in the Kremlin,” he said.
Others also fear Moscow is on the point of a full-scale invasion, and believe the Ukrainian authorities – led by President Volodymyr Zelensky – are already preparing for the worst.
“What is quite clear for me is that Zelensky and the people around him are seriously concerned about a possible invasion,” said Alyona Getmanchuk, director of the New Europe Centre think tank in Kyiv.
Putin’s deputy chief of staff Dmitry Kozak wanted this week that Ukraine faced “disintergration” if it pushed Russia into war.
Moscow has already surrounded Ukraine’s border with tens of thousands of troops as US warships prepare to head to the Black Sea amid rising tensions.
Shilling satellite images show new Russian encampments and artillery batteries in the provinces of Voronezh and Krasnodar which lie to the east of Donbass.
At least six 2S4 Tyulpan self-propelled mortars – capable of firing warheads 12 miles – were filmed on a flatbed train in southwest Russia on Tuesday.
Dubbed the “city destroyer”, it is the largest mortar system in the world and has been used to demolish fortifications from Chechnya to Afghanistan.
On Friday, the Kremlin said it fears the return of full-scale fighting in eastern Ukraine and could take steps to protect Russian civilians there.
SITUATION ‘VERY UNSTABLE’
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the situation was “very unstable” and risked leading to “full-scale combat operations”.
Ukraine’s military chief has dismissed Russian claims that the country’s armed forces are preparing for an attack on the rebel east.
Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists have been fighting in eastern Ukraine since shortly after Moscow’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
More than 14,000 people have died in the conflict, and efforts to negotiate a political settlement have now stalled.
Ukraine and the West have accused Russia of sending in troops and weapons to help separatists – accusations that Moscow has denied.
The separatist authorities in Donetsk said 20 troops and two civilians have been killed this year.
Western and Ukrainian officials have raised concerns in recent weeks about the Russian troop build-up along the border with Ukraine.
It comes after footage appeared to show a MiG-31 fighter jet intercepting a US RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft off the coast of Russia as tensions mount.
The concerns intensifed on Friday as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to his French and German counterparts.
The State Department said Blinken, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian discussed the need for Russia to cease its military build-up and heated rhetoric.
During a call with Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for the removal of the troop reinforcements to a deescalate the situation.
And on Friday, a Turkey foreign ministry official said the US has notified Turkey that two US warships will sail to the Black Sea on April 14 and April 15 and stay there until May 4 and May 5.
“A notice was sent to us 15 days ago via diplomatic channels that two US warships would pass to the Black Sea, in line with the Montreux Convention. The ships will remain in the Black Sea until May 4,” Turkey’s foreign ministry said.
Putin, during a telephone conversation with Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan on Friday, accused Ukraine of “dangerous provocative actions” in the Donbass region.
Speaking to Reuters, the Pentagon declined to discuss Turkey’s comments but said the military routinely sends ships to the region.
“That’s not anything new,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in Washington, referring to US military ships in the Black Sea.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko raised concerns over what he claimed was increasing Black Sea activity by powers that did not have a coast line in the region – an apparent reference to the US.
“The number of visits by NATO countries and the length of the stay of (their) warships have increased,” he was quoted as saying by the Interfax news agency.