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26 Nov, 2019 11:43

That missile goes out of your pockets, young men: Russian soldiers fined $0.5 million for hangar mishap

That missile goes out of your pockets, young men: Russian soldiers fined $0.5 million for hangar mishap

A pair of Russian soldiers, who accidentally fired inside a hangar a 4-meter-long air-launched missile carrying 100 kilos of high explosive, will have to pay almost half a million dollars in damage, a military tribunal ruled.

The ruling passed by a tribunal in Crimea last Sunday falls short from what the Russian Defense Ministry asked for, but still puts a heavy financial burden on two technicians. Both were found guilty of criminal negligence during earlier court hearing June.

The accidental launch happened on an air base in Saki in October 2017. According to Kommersant daily, Nikolay Zverev and Aleksey Chebanov were tasked with checking the state of two Kh-29TD missiles after a training exercise, during which they were carried by a Su-30SM fighter jet.


The projectile is on the larger side of the spectrum, measuring almost four meters and meant to destroy resilient high value targets like bunkers, bridges, or warships. The one that Zverev and Chebanov fired, however, took down the hangar’s gate and a section of the wall, another missile and some of the equipment used for missile testing.

Their mistake was not to follow instructions to check a safety pin that prevents engine launch during testing procedures. Luckily for the two technicians, the missile that was accidentally launched was not armed, so its powerful warhead did not explode. But the kinetic damage still translates into a pretty hefty fine.

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After examining estimates and mitigating circumstances, the tribunal ordered Zverev and Chebanov to pay a total of 31 million rubles ($484,000). Neither service member is believed to be wealthy enough to cover his share out of his own pocket. So unless the ruling is successfully appealed by them, a court will establish a repayment schedule, ordering a part of their salaries to be withheld for decades to come.

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