A battalion commander who died on March 28, sacrificing his life to save young conscripts, after acting as a human shield to protect a soldier from a grenade blast on Wednesday probably saved dozens of lives, an army officer has said.
Major Sergei Solnechnikov pushed the soldier away from a grenade and threw himself over it after it bounced off a trench during training exercises at a Far Eastern military base in the town of Belogorsk.
“I shudder to think about what could have happened had he not done this. There was an entire battalion there; more than 100 people,” Sergei Frolov, an officer at the Belogorsk base, told this to Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper.
A RIA Novosti source at a different base in the town also said the death toll could have been much higher.
Meanwhile, charges have been brought against the conscript soldier who mishandled the grenade. He faces up to five years in jail if convicted.
But Belogorsk garrison military prosecutor Dmitry Krasnopevtsev said an investigation into the incident was still “just beginning.”
“It’s too early to speak of any results,” Krasnopevtsev said.
The title of Hero of Russia was assigned to Major Sergey Solnechnikov by the Decree of President Dmitry Medvedev. “For heroism, courage and dedication shown during the performance of military duty”