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Meeting with the permanent Security Council members

June 3, 2011, Gorki, Moscow Region

Dmitry Medvedev ordered an investigation into the fire at a Defence Ministry arms depot in Udmurtia which set off explosions of ammunition stocks, and called for those responsible for the situation to be identified and made to answer.

Missile defence and the situation in Libya were also on the agenda at the meeting.

* * *

President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Colleagues,

I want to brief you on some of the recent talks I have had, including at the Deauville Summit last week, and some of the contacts I have had of late on a number of strategic issues currently on the agenda, including missile defence, the situation in Libya, and a various other subjects.

But before we turn to these matters, I draw the Defence Minister’s [Anatoly Serdyukov] attention to the fact that for the second time of late we have had a whole fireworks display with ammunition going off and people wounded and missing. As I recall, we even had a meeting specifically addressing this kind of incident the year before last.

After that, it seemed that the situation had been brought under control overall. The inspection organisations got their act together and a number of Defence Ministry officials lost their jobs. But now you have all slackened off again and we are having problems once more. As I understand, the fire in Udmurtia has now been brought under control?

Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov: Yes.

Dmitry Medvedev: Completely?

Anatoly SERDYUKOV: It is still burning in a few places. We hope it will be fully under control by the end of the day, and then the firefighters and sappers will go in to complete the work. 

Dmitry MEDVEDEV: You are to get the situation completely under control of course, but should only send people in once you are fully certain that the explosions have stopped. You also must instruct the relevant agencies (I am referring to the Emergencies Ministry and other units) to work in close coordination with you so that the local residents return to their homes only after you are sure that the situation is fully under control. That is the first point I wanted to make.

The second point is that this is the second such incident, and this shows that there is a problem in the system, Mr Serdyukov. I want proposals from you on who are those responsible for this situation and how they should be made to answer for it. We made it clear that things have to change, and for two years the situation was fine, but if this was not enough, we are just going to have to strip some people of the rank once again.

Anatoly SERDYUKOV: We will make a thorough investigation and present our conclusions.

Dmitry MEDVEDEV: Carry out your investigation. The Investigative Committee and other agencies will make their investigations too. Then report back to me on your proposals and conclusions.


June 3, 2011, Gorki, Moscow Region