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Putin Tells Defense Ministry To Cooperate In Hazing Probe

Vladimir Putin (file photo) (epa) 30 January 2006 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today demanded that the Defense Ministry fully cooperate with military prosecutors investigating a brutal hazing incident that has provoked outrage in the country.

Addressing a cabinet meeting, Putin said the incident at the Chelyabinsk Armor Academy in western Siberia was a tragedy and a crime.

Andrei Sychyov, a 19-year-old conscript, was left maimed for life after senior servicemen at the academy brutally beat him up over the New Year holidays.

Putin today ordered the Defense Ministry to financially assist Sychyov's family.

Military prosecutors said 12 servicemen were charged over the attack. Three of them are being held in custody.

Sychyov's family says it will sue those responsible for the incident, including the Defense Ministry.

Today's comments were Putin's first in public on the incident.

(ITAR-TASS, Interfax,

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