Photo by STRINGER/AFP via Getty Images
- A Russian soldier accidentally set off a hand grenade in Belgorod on Sunday evening.
- Three soldiers died, 16 were injured, and another eight are missing, Russian state media reported.
- The grenade was detonated by a senior sergeant serving as a platoon commander, 112 reported.
Three Russian soldiers were killed and 16 more were injured when a sergeant accidentally detonated a hand grenade in a dormitory in the Belgorod region of Russia on Sunday evening, Russian media reported.
The grenade exploded in Tonenkoye village’s community center, which was used to store ammunition and house Russian soldiers, per Russian state news outlet TASS.
The explosion also started a fire, forcing 15 people to evacuate from nearby houses, TASS reported.
“The preliminary cause of the explosion is careless handling of ammunition,” a source in the emergency services told TASS.
Eight more soldiers are missing after the explosion, and a search for them is still ongoing, Russian news agency Interfax reported, citing local emergency services.
The grenade was detonated in a weapons storage room by a senior sergeant serving as a platoon commander, according to the 112 Telegram channel, which is closely linked to Russian security services.
The resulting explosion created a fire covering around 4,843 square feet, the Telegram channel wrote.
The channel also reported that the blast was caused by an RGD-5 grenade, an anti-personnel hand grenade designed in the early 1950s.
Belgorod sits on Russia’s border with the northeast of Ukraine, around 46 miles from the city of Kharkiv.
The border region has been hit by multiple munitions-related incidents and explosions since Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022.
Russian news agencies reported several times in 2022 that ammunition and fuel depots in Belgorod were struck by explosions. Local officials and state media attributed the blasts to Ukrainian shelling and missile strikes, though Kyiv has not claimed responsibility.
In a separate incident, 11 Russian soldiers were shot dead and 15 more were injured during a firearms training class in Belgorod, the RIA news agency reported in October. The shooters had volunteered to participate in the war in Ukraine and were killed at the scene, RIA reported. The shooters were from an unspecified former Soviet republic, Reuters reported, citing Russia’s defence ministry.
Russia has become increasingly reliant on conscripts over the course of its war, after its widely unpopular mobilization of 300,000 reservists in October.
Ukraine’s military intelligence has claimed that Moscow intends to mobilize another 500,000 personnel. Russian officials have neither confirmed nor denied such reports.
Russia’s Ministry for Defence and Ministry for Civil Defence and Emergency Situations did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.