‘Z’ symbol on Russian military vehicles explained

Estimated read time 6 min read

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Consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis.” byline=”staff reporter” caption=”It is still quite unclear as the true meaning of the “Z“ symbol in Russian military vehicles.” credits=”REUTERS”]

Explained: What ‘Z’ on Russian army vehicles mean

Russian military vehicles and tanks are becoming a common scene in Ukraine since the start of the invasion.

Aside from the roving picture of horror that led to the country’s devastation, people began to notice a white emblem of the letter “Z” marking written in a thick brushstroke.

Protesters who support the movement of the Russian government have been found wearing the emblem on their T-shirts as well, which are also sold by the state-owned news network Russia today.

The symbol has created lots of speculation regarding its true meaning.

According to a tweet by scholar Kamil Galeev, “Z” is a letter for Ukraine-bound Russian military vehicles.

It can also be interpreted as “Za pobedy” for victory or “Zapad” for West.

“This symbol invented just a few days ago became a symbol for a new Russian ideology and national identity,” Galeev added.

A military source in the Ukrainian capital in Kyiv, on the other hand, speculated that the Z symbol is to avoid Russian forces attacking their own vehicles to avoid confusion with similar looks of Ukrainian tanks.

Some experts also claimed that the Z refers to vehicles that are ready to attack.

Professor Michael Clarke, former director of the think tank Rusi pointed out how these symbols serve as a communication of where the unit is heading similar to the theory of the Russia analyst Rob Lee who claimed that Z is for different task forces.

Former intelligence officer David Kime said that some military sources believe that the symbol stands for “the point of no return.”

For the Russians, they believe that the letter Z stands for Zelenskyy, the last name of the current Ukrainian president while others believe that it is a symbol for the final stage of the liberation of the Donbas.

The symbol Z on the other hand does not appear in the Russian alphabet as its counterpart resembles the number 3 in the Cyrillic script.

The “Z” symbol was first spotted on the Russian vehicles that entered the Donetsk region on February 22, but it was noted that it has already appeared on the vehicles in Crimea during its annexation by Russia in 2014.

Other symbols aside from “Z” that are seen on the Russian military vehicles are a triangle with two lines on either side, a circle with three dots inside, a large triangle with a smaller triangle inside, and diamond shapes.

Russian military officials have not given an official statement regarding the symbols. KSO/Expat Media


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