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Ukrainian company pivots from medieval armor to spiky 'caltrops' intended to stop or slow Russian vehicles

A Ukrainian company that manufacturers medieval armor for sport is now using its materials to produce "caltrops" — or "sharp, six-inch spikes that date back to ancient wars" — in service of the war effort against Russia, The Washington Post reports.

Art of Steel in western Ukraine used to make items like "silver chain mail, helmets, and other armor for reenactments and show," but has instead in the past two weeks produced hundreds of caltrops, which are being chained together and "placed at checkpoints around Rivne, a city about 210 miles west of Kyiv," writes the Post. The intent is for the devices, also called "hedgehogs," to stop or slow Russian vehicles should they try to enter the city, since the metal can pierce tires.

"Ukrainians [are] united in this war," an Art of Steel official told the Post. "Absolutely everyone is trying to help in the fighting places and in the rear. Therefore, any materials are somehow used."

"With proper use," the caltrops "will help stop [a] column of vehicles or at least delay them for a while," the official added.

The Art of Steel hedgehogs are just one example of homegrown weaponry Ukrainians are using to defend themselves from Russian aggression. Some volunteers, for example, have begun packing bottles with the materials needed to make Molotov cocktails.

The spiky weapons are now at every checkpoint in Rivne, Art of Steel said, per the Post. The company is also making plates for body armor.