KIEV - Specialists Have Not Ruled Out That Computer Glitch Cased Stray Missile, Top Officers Firedgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
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Title: Ukraine Fires Top Officers Over Stray Missile
Story Filed: Sunday, April 30, 2000 4:46 AM EST
KIEV, Ukraine (Reuters) - Ukraine's defense minister has dismissed two high-ranking army officers and demoted another after a missile fired during military training hit an apartment block and killed three people.
Olexander Kuzmuk told television late Saturday that he had dismissed Missile Forces and Artillery Commander Lt. Gen. Volodymyr Tereshchenko and Col. Heorhiy Korneyev, head of the control group for the missile forces.
He said they were responsible for the missile that crashed into an apartment block 80 miles from a training ground in the Chernihiv region of northern Ukraine last week.
``I order the dismissal of Missile Forces and Artillery Commander Lieutenant-General Volodymyr Tereshchenko for the poor, poor preparation and execution of the missile launch and for the failure to take safety measures,'' Kuzmuk said.
He also said the first deputy commander of the Ukraine's Northern Operational Command, Lt. Gen. Valery Pashynsky, had been demoted for ``the poor organization of the exercises and for deceiving the Defense Ministry.''
Just hours after the launch of the Soviet-made surface-to-surface Tochka-U, Kuzmuk said a special control group had reported that the missile had hit the target at another training ground near Kiev.
``This was the reason why the ministry for such a long time denied having anything to do with the accident,'' Kuzmuk said.
The ministry set up two investigative commissions and experts have said an explosion in the gas generator of the missile could be the reason for the accident. Specialists have not ruled out that a computer glitch caused it.
Last week Kuzmuk banned training launches of missiles and all bombs until the investigation was completed.
Ukraine owns more than 500 Tochka-U missiles although the service life of most of them has expired. The ministry said the armed forces would continue to operate the missiles.
-- (Dee360Degree@aol.com), April 30, 2000