A retiree in the Udmurtia region of the western Urals has alerted police after finding scores of Ak-47 assault rifles in crates he bought for firewood, police said.
The Udmurtian man contacted the police after he found “an object similar to a Kalashnikov assault rifle” in one of the wooden cases, a police source said.
Another 78 rifles and munitions were later found in the crates which the man bought for firewood from a Kamaz truck driver who was supposed to deliver the Kalashnikovs to a military base to be destroyed.
“The [Kalashnikov] weapons arrived at the Izhevsky arms plant for destruction from arms depots of the Defense Ministry … The Kamaz driver was taking the crates [with weapons] to a firing range … but sold them off on the way,” police said.
All of the rifles were later returned to the plant, PR officer Yelena Filatova said, adding they had been removed from the plant premises by mistake.
“Why that happened will be established in the course of an investigation,” she said.
She suggested the truck driver was taking what he believed were empty crates to a dump but sold them on the way to a local resident for firewood.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said in his Twitter blog that he would fly to Udmurtia to organize a meeting on firearms production and storage at the military compound.
“A retiree found dozens of Kalashnikov assault rifles…Well! I’ll just have to hold a production meeting on firearms on [January] 24 at Izhmash,” Rogozin wrote.
Last June, an arms depot was swept by fire in the republic of Udmurtia after a soldier dropped an artillery round. At least 95 people were injured, and 12,000 evacuated.