Russian soldiers 'were fed dog food'

Russian Interior Ministry troops were fed dog food earlier this year to save money, a former officer in the ministry said yesterday.

A rare whistleblower in Russia's expansive security forces, former major Igor Matveyev said officers tried to cover up the scandal and other alleged wrongdoing at the base where he served in the far-east city of Vladivostok.

Matveyev, who served in Russia's wars against Chechen separatists in the 1990s, said he was dismissed after posting a video on the internet this month alleging widespread corruption in the Interior Ministry forces.

No one at the ministry's troop unit was immediately available to comment on his allegations.

"It's embarrassing to say, but soldiers here were fed dog food. It was fed to them as stew," Matveyev said in an interview with Reuters, adding that dog food labels were covered up with labels reading "premium-quality beef".

He said he would contest the sacking, which followed his posting of a 10-minute video in which he asked President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to intervene.

"It took me a month to determine through various reports exactly what was happening," he said by phone from Vladivostok.

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