Author`s name Andrey Mihayloff

Operation Z: What is that?

The Z marking, which one may see painted on the Russian military vehicles in Ukraine, has become one of the most talked-about symbols lately.

White Z markings on Russian tanks, infantry vehicles, etc, have given the name to Russia's special operation in Ukraine — Operation Z. The day, when Putin ordered to begin the operation was dubbed as Day Z.

At first, no one could give a precise explanation to what Z signs on Russian tanks mean. Many assumed that the Russian military decided to paint such markings to be able to distinguish the Russian military hardware from Ukrainian arms as the two countries use the same military technology — the Ukrainian military use same models of tanks or trucks as the Russian military do.

As soon as pictures of Russian military vehicles with Z markings on them appeared on the net, many assumed that 'Z' stands for the Zorro sign — a Mexican folk character who fought against tyranny, corruption and the American occupation of his native land.

Others soon suggested that the letter Z designated Russia's western military group Zapad as 'west' translates into Russian as 'zapad'.

Some pieces of the Russian military hardware have 'V' markings painted on them. The letter V may stand here for 'Vostok,' which means 'East.' Interestingly, there were some pictures of Russian military vehicles with the letter 'O' painted on them too. It was assumed that those vehicles would be used for 'Okruzheniye', or 'encirclement.'

On March 3, 2022, the Russian Defence ministry gave an official explanation to 'Z' markings on pieces of the Russian military hardware.

"Z" stands for "Za Pobedu" ("For Victory"), "Zadacha budget vypolnena" ("Mission will be accomplished").

The ministry also clarified the meaning of "V" markings. V stands for "Sila V Pravde" ("The power is in the truth").

Even before the appearance of official interpretations of the above-mentioned symbols, people across Russia started holding flashmob events to support the Russian military.

For example, the governor of the Kemerovo region Sergey Tsivilev ordered to refer to the region in official documents as KuZbass.

The head of the Crimea, Sergey Aksyonov, and the head of the Khabarovsk Territory, Mikhail Degtyarev, also added the letter Z to the names of their Telegram channels.

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Russian military hardware in Ukraine