An unfortunate Russian soldier is in a frozen penal colony after accidentally torching his half-a-million dollar tank.
Video from last May surfaced on the Daily Mail, that shows a Russian army man named Semen Merezhnikov being dressed down by a very angry officer while a tank burns in the background. The soldier explains that he’d been trying to heat his rations when the small campfire he’d made spread to the nearby tank, lighting it ablaze.
Behind the stunned soldier is the burning hulk of a Russian army BTR-82, an armored personnel carrier capable of hauling a squad of seven infantrymen over very rough terrain using its 8-wheel drive. The rough price tag on the latest version is around $500,000 USD, making this a very unfortunate kitchen fire.
According to the news outlet, the tank was covered in leaves, twigs, and camouflage netting which allowed it to catch fire easily.
The poor soldier’s incensed officer can be heard screaming from off-camera. A rough translation has him shouting, “Look at me now, how did it happen, speak!”
Merezhnikov, looking utterly cowed, attempts to stutter his explanation. “I wanted to warm up my meal, I dug the ground around it…”
“Where did you want to warm it? What did you dig? What? Where,” shouts the officer, totally unmoved.
“I dug ground around a small area, and set a small fire,” replies the conscript, showing how with his still smoldering rocket-propelled grenade.
“Did you really? And where is your machine gun?”
“Here is my machine gun.”
The officer then launches into a string of epithets. “Put out the fire on your grenade gun, pee on it, f--- you!”
According to the Daily Mail, Merezhnikov was subsequently sent to a Russian "penal army detachment" for a period of six months as punishment. There, he will perform forced labor with very little sleep and be first in line for latrine duty.
The detachment was based in the Crimea, the area of Ukraine annexed by Russian in 2014.