President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: On November 13 there was a major incident at the Navy’s ammunition depot in Ulyanovsk. We have all heard about it. People were killed. Unfortunately this happened because of a lack of supervision on the part of the Ministry of Defence and the maleficent negligence of those who were in charge of disposing of ammunition at that time. An investigation was carried out. But despite the arrival of a large number of officials from Moscow – both from the Ministry of Defence and the Military District headquarters – something absolutely unconscionable happened yesterday: at the same depot more people were killed. And this tragedy has already forced us to think about more serious things. It is the consequence of a complete lack of discipline in the way this work was organised, the result of people’s incapacity to fulfill their specific duties. These people will have to answer to disciplinary and criminal law.
With us here are the Chief Military Prosecutor and the head of the Military Investigative Service of the Investigative Committee of the Prosecutor General’s Office. I hereby instruct you to carry out the necessary investigations and to take all the necessary decisions during the preliminary investigation.
Yesterday I also instructed the Minister of Defence to prepare proposals on the punishment of those responsible for the accident under the laws on military service.
I have taken the following decisions. I have decided to dismiss from military service the Chief of Armed Forces Engineer Troops, Chief of General Rocket and Artillery Directorate of the Defence Ministry,
acting Chief of Armaments and Deputy Commander of the Volga-Urals Military District, and acting Chief of Engineer Troops of the Military District.
I am also instructing the Minister of Defence to decide on the removal and dismissal from military service of senior officers in Field Army 2 and Depot Arsenal 31.
At the same time, I am instructing the Minister of Defence to take other types of disciplinary measures with individuals from the central office of the Ministry of Defence and the Volga-Urals Military District.
One more thing: a large number of officials were convened to make sure that all the necessary decisions were made in order to prevent similar situations in the future. They did not do their job. That is a disgrace. Thus we need to ensure that there is genuine security for the military personnel involved in such work, in the course of doing such work, for the residents of Ulyanovsk, and not only in Ulyanovsk but in other places. We have a lot of similar warehouses and arms depots in this country. We have to check how the ammunition is being stored there. I gave such an order to the Minister of Defence during my conversation with him. We need to conduct a complete inventory of depots and armouries, complete, exhaustive, with pictures and a technical description of what is happening there. We need to find out where the commanders are and what they’re doing there. As far as I know, when all this happened, on November 13, the officers responsible for the depot could not be found for most of the night.
Mr Serdyukov [Defence Minister], such an inventory must be conducted and immediate action must be taken to ensure the safety of everyone involved, both civilian and military. I will give you one month. Then report to me.