A battalion commander who died after diving on a grenade to protect others was posthumously awarded Russia’s highest honor, the Hero of Russia, reported the Kremlin website.
Major Sergei Solnechnikov pushed a soldier away from a grenade and threw himself over it after it bounced back into the trench they were in during training exercises at a Far Eastern military base near the town of Belogorsk.
The critically injured officer was rushed to the nearest military hospital, where he died of his injuries. His colleagues say the move saved dozens of lives.
“The title of the Hero of the Russian Federation is bestowed on Major Solnechnikov Sergei, posthumously, for heroism courage and bravery shown while fulfilling military duties,” the presidential decree says.
The mothers of soldiers whose lives had been saved by Solnechnikov's actions had called for the award and Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also said that the officer’s “heroic act” deserves a state honor.
Solnechnikov was buried on Monday in his home city of Volzhsky in the Volga area. City authorities announced plans to name a street in Volzhsky after Solnechnikov.
The governor of the Far Eastern Amur Region, where the base is located, also proposed naming a street in Blagoveshchensk in his honor.