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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Colonel Accused of Stealing Fuel at Secret Arms Facility

Military prosecutors in the Far Eastern region of Khabarovsk are investigating the possible theft of about $50,000 worth of diesel fuel from a secret nuclear weapons storage facility.

Colonel Yury Navrotsky, the commander of a military unit at the facility, is being accused by the unit's chief accountant, Major Yury Shashkov, of stealing the fuel in 2004 and 2005, Kommersant reported late last week. The top secret facility stores nuclear warheads and is informally known as Korfovsky Obyekt.

Shashkov alerted the facility's commander, Colonel Alexander Velikanov, after he first learned that the fuel was being stolen in 2004, but Velikanov decided to cover up the theft, Kommersant said. Velikanov forced personnel to accept responsibility and to chip in to pay from 5,000 rubles to 15,000 rubles ($187 to $560) each for the missing fuel. He also purportedly ordered that several of the facility's vehicles be sold to help cover the 1.3 million ruble cost of the fuel.

The Federal Security Service's local branch received Shashkov's complaint and sent the case to the local branch of the Military Prosecutor's Office in December 2005, but it was only on Aug. 3 that prosecutors began to investigate the allegations.

Calls to the military prosecutor's office in Khabarovsk went unanswered Friday.

Shashkov complained in his statement that Navrotsky had threatened him with physical harm and promised to transfer him to an even more far-flung unit because of his accusation.

Asked about the allegations, Navrotsky was quoted by Kommersant as saying that the investigation would "sort out who is guilty and who is right."