Three marines tragically died during strategic exercises Vostok-2014, which Russia is currently holding on the territory of the Eastern Military District. The Defense Ministry of the Russian Federation decided to decorate the servicemen posthumously.
According to defense officials, the incident occurred at about 08:00 a.m. Moscow time on 22 September, near Sakhalin Island. At about 300 meters from the island, a large wave overwhelmed the group of marines, and one of the armored vehicles went under the water, Interfax reports.
According to defense ministry officials, there were crew members and ten paratroopers staying inside the vehicle at the moment when the incident occurred. During the rescue operation, seven soldiers were promptly brought up to the surface and taken to the shore. Three others drowned.
The killed soldiers, as explained in the defense department, were helping other soldiers swim up to the surface of the water from the sinking APC. According to preliminary reports, two soldiers helped the driver-mechanic leave the vehicle. A jammed door blocked him in the armored personnel carrier.
To clarify circumstances of the tragedy, the Ministry of Defense created a special commission. The killed servicemen will be posthumously decorated with state awards, the press service of the Defense Ministry told ITAR-TASS.
Strategic exercises Vostok-2014 started on 19 September. The drills are conducted on more than 20 land, sea and air test grounds of the Eastern Military District of the Russian Federation. According to the plans of the Defense Ministry, the military work on the protection of the sea coast and islands on the ranges of Sakhalin, Kamchatka, Chukotka, in the southern part of Primorye and several other areas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, while in Novorossiysk on a visit to participate in the meeting on the development of the ports of the Azov and Black Sea basin, will listen to a special report in connection with the tragic death of three servicemen during military exercises. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu will deliver the report from Kamchatka in the form of a videoconference. Exercises Vostok-2014 will last through September 25.
As part of Vostok-2014 exercises, Russia conducted combat-capable missile launches from tactical complex Iskander-M. The launches were conducted for the first time in the Eastern Military District, the head of Missile Forces and Artillery of Ground Forces, Major-General Mikhail Matvievsky said.
"Indeed, missile complex Iskander-M, for the first time in the history of the district, takes part in large-scale exercises, conducting missile launches," Interfax quoted Matvievsky as saying. According to the general, there were two successful launches conducted.
"There can be only one conclusion made after the launches. Missile complex Iskander is the best in the world. This is our powerful weapon, guarantor of our security. It performs, as you have seen, accurate and graceful, if I may say so, strikes," said the general.
He added that the training launches of Iskander missiles, like other missile launches, were conducted in accordance with the plan of the exercises and with the decision of the commander of the Eastern Military District.
The main goal of the maneuvers is to check the coherence of action between staffs and commanders, as well as to improve the command and control system.
Iskander missile complex is capable of striking targets at a distance of several hundred kilometers. Iskander missiles strike targets with accuracy of up to 30 centimeters.
Both Russia and Ukraine have been increasing their military presence on the border between the two countries lately. Russia warned Ukraine against any military scenarios