Medvedev warns, sacks top officers over Russia fires

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President Dmitry Medvedev on Wednesday warned Russia's two top naval commanders and fired a string of other top officers for failing to prevent wildfires reaching a military base last week.

Medvedev said he had taken a decision to formally warn the head of the Russian Navy Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky and his deputy Alexander Tatarinov over "incomplete professional responsibility."

"I order the ministry of defence to fire a whole number of officers for the disciplinary infringements that were allowed to take place," the president added in televised comments.

Officials also for the first time Tuesday confirmed fires from the countryside had ripped through a naval logistics base in Kolomna, southeast of Moscow, last week and destroyed office buildings and warehouses and equipment.

The damage was colossal: the staff headquarters, financial department, 13 warehouses containing aeronautical equipment and 17 storage areas containing vehicles were destroyed in the blaze.

"If something similar happens in other places and departments, I will act in the same way, without any pity," Medvedev added.

© 2010 AFP

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