18 Feb 2020 12:21

Troop fatalities down 29% from 2015 to 2019 - Russian Defense Ministry

MOSCOW. Feb 18 (Interfax) - Suicides and road accidents caused by neglect of traffic rules constitute a large proportion of the fatality rate within the Russian military, the Defense Ministry said in response to an enquiry from State Duma deputy Valery Rashkin.

"According to the letter signed by First Deputy Defense Minister Valery Gerasimov, measures taken by the Russian Defense Ministry's administration significantly reduced the number of certain types of misdeeds, and the troop fatality rate went down 29% from 2015 to 2019," Rashkin told Interfax on Tuesday.

The fairly high portion of suicides, road accidents caused by violation of traffic rules, and deaths resulting from violation of safety regulations, plane crashes, drowning, and poisoning is a source of profound concern, he said, referring to the letter.

Meanwhile, the number of criminal cases opened on counts of crimes against military service declined 26.5% in 2019, Rashkin said. The ministry also reported a 41.8% decline in the number of deserters, he said.

There has been a decline in the number of thefts of weapons, ammunition, explosives, and explosive devices by 41.8%, the number of robberies by 31.3%, the number of deserters by 30.3%, the number of attacks on commanders by 21.4%, the rate of physical abuse by 13.8%, the rate of illegal drug possession by 11.1%, the rate of negligence by 9.8%, and the rate of extortion by 6.3%, the ministry said.

According to the ministry, hazing and physical abuse incidents amounted to roughly 12% of all crimes committed in the Russian Armed Forces in 2019. However, such cases are the most high profile and their negative effect on troops' morale and public perception is incomparable with the impact of other crimes, Rashkin said.