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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian Army Blamed for $1 Bln Landfill

RIA Novosti

19:15 24/12/2012

MOSCOW, December 24 (RIA Novosti) – An illegal landfill site established by the Russian Defense Ministry next to Moscow's water supply could have caused 30 billion rubles ($1 billion) of damages, police said on Monday.

The landfill is situated on military-owned land next to two reservoirs that provide water to Moscow and the surrounding region, the Interior Ministry said on its website.

The Defense Ministry contracted unspecified firms to "reclaim" the land in 2010-2011, but that was a sham because the firms actually dumped waste on the site, with endorsement from army officials, the report said.

Police published a video to confirm the allegations, offering three minutes of footage of a nondescript landfill site. The video was shot in summertime, and it remained immediately unclear whether the allegedly hazardous landfill continues to operate.

No reports were made on possible health damages to the combined 19 million Muscovites and Moscow Region residents that could have been caused by the alleged pollution of their water supply.

The illegal dump was created under the supervision of the First Deputy Commander of the Space Forces, Valery Ivanov, police said. If charged and convicted of abuse of authority, he may face up to 10 years in prison.

Lt. Col. Yury Solovyev, who used to supervise air defense of Moscow and central Russia, was implicated in the same case last June. The Investigative Committee, which handled the check into his actions, did not specify the damages at the time, but said the landfill grew five times to span 22 hectares in the six years that Solovyov was on the job.

Since November, the Defense Ministry is facing a massive anti-corruption clampdown that already cost the job of then-minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Several of his subordinates and affiliates face graft-related charges.

The landfill case ups the ante for the army's purge because the latest estimates for damages caused by corruption at the Defense Ministry, voiced by the Investigative Committee earlier this month, stood at a mere 7.9 billion rubles ($256 million).

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