MOSCOW, March 4 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Defense Ministry confirmed on Monday reports of vermin found in food stocks at a military unit on the Kurils Islands in the Russian Far East, but denied the food had been given to servicemen.
Russian food safety and sanitary watchdog Rosselkhoznadzor reported on Monday it had seized several dozen tons of rotten food at a military unit on the South Kuril Island of Kunashir during checks on the army base’s food depot.
Rosselkhoznadzor said the inspection showed food had been kept in unsanitary conditions. “Part of the food was infected with ticks. Also, fungi and rodents’ excrement were found on the bags. The foodstuffs hazardous for human health were seized,” the agency said.
Eastern Military District spokesman Col. Alexander Gordeyev said, however, the rotten food had been discovered before it was fed to servicemen.
“The servicemen of the military unit of the Eastern Military District located on the Kuril Islands were not fed with inferior food. The fact of finding flour pests was indeed registered. It was exposed by a supply officer of the same military unit a month and a half ago,” Gordeyev said.
Gordeyev again rejected reports that soldiers and officers based on the Kurils had gone on a hunger strike over their food.
The Russian military launched a probe in early February into media reports that soldiers and officers based on the Kurils were left hungry after being given spoiled food.
Recent media reports claimed soldiers and officers in a military unit on the southern Kuril Islands were fed food containing worms. Those reports were denied by Gordeyev at that time.
Russia maintains garrisons on the Kurils, which are the subject of a territorial dispute with neighboring Japan, which calls the islands the Northern Territories. The islands were occupied by Soviet forces in August 1945 at the end of World War II.
Scandals surrounding living conditions and poor food in the Russian Army have been frequently reported in the last two decades. In July 2010, Kommersant newspaper reported 1,000 tons of dog food had been discovered in an army food depot, which was being fed to soldiers, along with products that were beyond their shelf-life.