Another post-Soviet development with its root in the T-72 program is the T-90 main battle tank and its variants, currently representing the peak of armored warfare capability of Russian ground forces. First production versions of the T-90 were produced in 1992, and during the lifetime of the program a few export models (e.g. T-90S, T-90SM) have been produced. These have not however been exported to Ukraine, where the domestic military industry worked on other modernizations based on e.g. the T-72 and T-80.
A distinctive feature often associated with the T-90 family tanks are "glowing eyes" on the turret. These "eyes" are the electro-optical interference emitters of the Shtora-1 active protection system, intended to disrupt the guidance systems of anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs).
In the summer of 2014, reports of T-90 family tank sightings in eastern Ukraine started to appear. A Telegraph article cites a Ukrainian activist with the words: "Luhansk. We are retreating. Long convoys of tanks […] The men have endured a battle with a battalion of new Russian T-90 tanks". Until 2016, there was only limited visual evidence supporting the claims.
One piece of visual evidence has surfaced in the form of a YouTube video, reported to have been filmed on Aug. 25, 2014. That would place the video's filming date towards the end of Battle of Ilovaisk, meaning a phase of active hostilites between the forces. A noteworthy fact is that a number of Russian tanks were destroyed during the battles. The exact filming date however is difficult to determine without access to the original source, but the video can be geolocated to confirm the filming location.
The T-90A is one of several examples of military equipment that appears to have been moved from Russia to the conflict zone in Ukraine to assist in the fight against Ukrainian government's forces, in addition to the earlier reports of T-72B3s, as well as TOS-1 multiple launch rocket systems in the Donbas.