"Thus I can make myself useful to the state. I already served a similar tour of duty earlier. The only thing is that it was in the territory of a neighboring state, where our troops were not formally deployed," Mother's Right Foundation acting on behalf of the family of the deceased conscript quoted Leontyev as saying at the court hearing.
The Foundation says that this is probably the first formal statement (since it was made in the court for the record) by a Russian serviceman about his participation in combat operations in Ukraine. The Foundation also made an audio recording of the hearing.
Bryansk-born conscript Ilya Gorbunov died on Feb. 6, 2017. The investigation found that Gorbunov, who was not authorized to operate any military hardware, was ordered to drive the tank with its brakes out of order to a tank-training ground across the ice-covered bridge. Gorbunov drowned when the tank fell from the bridge. His commander Oleg Leontyev was charged with exceeding official powers which caused grave consequences.
The verdict to the officer will be announced July 6, 2018.