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A Russian army commander has been accused of stealing engines from Putin’s prized T-90 tanks, report says

T-90M tanks take part in a rehearsal of the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2022.T-90M tanks take part in a rehearsal of the Victory Day parade in Moscow, Russia, May 7, 2022.

Bai Xueqi/Xinhua via Getty Images

  • A Russian colonel has been accused of stealing seven engines meant for T-90 battle tanks.
  • Colonel Alexander Denisov has been arrested and could face up to 10 years in prison.
  • The engines are estimated to value roughly 20.5 million rubles, or around $260,000.

A Russian army commander has been arrested in connection with the alleged theft of engines meant for advanced T-90 battle tanks.

Investigators accuse Colonel Alexander Denisov of stealing seven tank engines valuing roughly 20.5 million rubles, around $260,000, between November 2021 to April 2022, the Russian newspaper Kommersant reported. 

The V-92C2 engines were intended to be installed in T-90 tanks, investigators said.

Denisov, who was the head of the technical support department of the Southern Military District, was arrested last month. 

The colonel’s lawyers objected to Denisov being held at a pre-trial detention center and pointed to his long military record, but an appellate court upheld the decision.

Denisov has pleaded not guilty, and his lawyers say he is innocent of the charges. He could face up to 10 years in prison, the appeal ruling says, according to Kommersant. 

Reports of rampant corruption have long plagued the Russian military. Since the war began, reports have revealed that fuel meant for tanks was sold on the black market, and soldiers were sent to the front line with little to no equipment.

Earlier this month six Russian logistics officers were found guilty of stealing aviation fuel in separate thefts and earning millions of rubles from it, according to Russian outlet Tayga.info.

The allegations of corruption in the Russian military are not new. In 2019, army officers from the same Southern Military District were convicted of a similar theft that Denisov is accused of, Kommersant noted.

Russia is believed to have lost nearly 2,000 tanks throughout the conflict, according to open-source intelligence analysis by Oryx, which would make up roughly half the pre-invasion tank force.

Retreating Russian troops have been reported to have left behind T-90 tanks, which are among Moscow’s most advanced.

Over a year into the invasion, Russia’s army has been forced to send older equipment, including 70-year-old T-55 tanks.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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