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Officer who covered grenade gets Russia's highest honour

France,Defence/Security, Wed, 04 Apr 2012 IANS

Moscow, April 4 (IANS/RIA Novosti) A Russian battalion commander who died after diving on a grenade to protect others has been posthumously awarded the country's highest honour, the "Hero of the Russian Federation".


According to 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 a training exercise at a military base near Belogorsk in the Far Eastern region.


The critically injured officer was rushed to a military hospital, where he died. 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 said.


The mothers of the soldiers whose lives had been saved by Solnechnikov's act had called for the award.


Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov also said the officer's "heroic act" deserved a state honour.


Solnechnikov was buried Monday in his home city of Volzhsky. City authorities have announced plans to name a street in Volzhsky after Solnechnikov.


The governor of the Far Eastern Amur region, where the base is located, has also proposed naming a street in Blagoveshchensk in his honour.


--IANS/RIA Novosti




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