MOSCOW -- Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday authorities were investigating how a drunken conscript got inside the U.S. Embassy compound in Moscow where he was shot by U.S. Marines while trying to steal a car Monday night.
Yevgeny Ivanov, 20, was recovering in a hospital with serious wounds and would be charged with attempted theft when he recovered, Yuri Nikolsky, the deputy head of the Moscow military prosecutor's office, told Reuters.Russia's cash-strapped military has suffered a string of incidents in which its mostly conscripted, low- and late-paid soldiers have run amok.
"All the necessary measures to prevent any repeat of such incidents are being taken," the foreign ministry said in a statement.
A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow confirmed that a man trying to steal a car from the compound had been "subdued with force" after ignoring verbal warnings Monday night.
Nikolsky said a comrade of the soldier who was earlier reported to be involved did not enter the embassy.
"They had been together but split up outside the embassy."
The incident at the U.S. embassy was not the first time its compound had been breached. In March 1997 a naked Russian soldier reportedly was caught in the shower of the U.S. charge d'affaires in Moscow.
That soldier, a young runaway conscript, had crept past security cameras and guards into the "Townhouse One" residence inside the sprawling U.S. embassy and spent the night there.
The majority of Russia's soldiers are teenage conscripts, drafted into a force in which suicide, drug-taking and bullying are rife.
Statistics show only about 15 percent of conscripts turn up to perform their two years' military service.
Acting Russian President Vladimir Putin has said more money will be directed toward both the military and the security services, in which he used to serve.
Tass news agency reported Tuesday that two conscripts in the far eastern port city of Vladivostok had deserted their posts Saturday, taking their sub-machine guns with them.
The two soldiers were wounded in an exchange of fire when a truck they had hijacked was stopped at a road block, Tass said.
Russian soldiers serving in rebel Chechnya, where Russia is waging a war to wipe out Islamic militants, have been involved in at least two incidents in neighboring Ingushetia.
Two weeks ago, five drunken Russian soldiers in an army truck ran over two young girls, killing them instantly. Local villagers then attacked the soldiers.
Five other soldiers in Ingushetia were arrested at the end of November for opening fire at a shop stall, killing a female student and wounding two others after the shop owner reportedly refused to sell them vodka.
Suicide accounted for a third of all deaths among servicemen in 1998. Russians are subject to the call-up from their 18th birthday but a variety of schemes are used to avoid it, including medical dispensations and bribes.