Two senior officers of the guard force at the naval ammunition depot which exploded last week in Vladivostok had stolen some key mine components, and military investigators are now investigating the possibility that the thefts might have some connection to the disaster. The two officers were said to have stolen and then sold some 250 "mine stabilizers" which contained precious metals. The depot contained 32 1960s-era Universal Bottom Mines (UDM) and another 58 more modern mines which incorporated torpedoes to be released once a ship or submarine was detected. (RIA-Novosti, November 10)
This is not the first time that military pilfering for profit has led to accidents in the Far East. Last year, for example, two servicemen were killed at an air defense missile complex near Komsomolsk-na-Amur when a missile warhead exploded as they were trying to take it apart to get to the precious metal components inside. (Itar-Tass, September 10, 1996) Indeed, security at some Russian military weapons storage sites is said to have gotten so lax that even children could trigger a disaster. The Interior Ministry’s press service yesterday reported a potentially dangerous incident that took place recently near Khabarovsk. Three teenagers broke into to a military unit at Pereyaslavka — 40 kilometers southwest of Khabarovsk and only 15 kilometers from the Chinese border — where aerial bombs were stored. The three reportedly removed the detonators from six bombs and made off with some 900 grams of explosives. (Itar-Tass, November 10)
CIS: Bolshevik Revolution Anniversary Roundup.