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Deadly nightclub fire in Russia caused by soldier returning from Ukraine

An altercation at a nightclub in Kostroma, some 300 kilometres northeast of Moscow, turned the establishment into a blazing inferno when a soldier returned from service in Ukraine brought a flare gun to a fistfight.

According to the official Russian source – the Emergency Ministry – at least 13 people died as a result of the fire. The fire broke out in the early hours of the morning at Polygon, a multi-purpose recreation venue used as a cafe, nightclub and bar. Rescuers said 250 people were evacuated from the building.

A disagreement between patrons broke out in the wee hours of the night, which left two individuals wounded. One person involved in the fight fired a flare gun, which caused the ceiling to catch on fire.

“After firing a flare, decorative elements on the ceiling caught fire and the fire began to spread instantly. Very quickly the room began to fill with acrid smoke and the evacuation exits were difficult to see. There was pushing and panic,” TASS news agency reported, citing a source.

Most of those killed in the fire had been found in the smoking room, utility room and near the toilets, emergency services told TASS.

The alleged perpetrator has already been detained by the authorities and confessed to being responsible for starting the fire.

Video of the arrest of the arsonist

According to Russian media, Stanislav Ionkin pleaded guilty to setting fire to the "Polygon" nightclub in #Kostroma.

The Ministry of Emergency Situations confirms the death of 13 people, not 15, as previously reported.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) November 5, 2022

The fire was extinguished as of 7:29 am (4:29 GMT), according to the regional governor.

Russia’s emergency ministry said it had not recently carried out a fire safety inspection of the premises due to its classification as a small business.

According to the firefighters, the conflagration covered 3,500 square metres of the “small business”, which was last inspected in 2019. The inspections were put on hold after the tenant told the fire inspection that he had ceased business activities on the premises.

There have been at least five other fires at restaurants since the start of the year, of which two resulted in deaths.

Russia is a country notorious for, among all other things, problems with fire safety. Back in 2009, 156 people were killed after a fire broke out at the Lame Horse nightclub in the city of Perm, sparking calls for tougher fire safety laws in the country.

Alleged perpetrator

The suspect, who has already been detained and confessed to starting the fire, is Stanislav Ionkin, a 23-year-old Russian man, who returned from fighting in his country’s invasion of Ukraine in August, after having been wounded.

According to Baza this photo shows the probable perpetrator of the fire at the nightclub in #Kostroma – the 23-year-old #Russian Army soldier Stanislav Ionkin.

He might have used pyrotechnics during a fight.

— NEXTA (@nexta_tv) November 5, 2022

Considering the sorry state of the Russian army revealed by the “partial mobilisation” announced by Putin in late September, which revealed that Russia is incapable of providing the mobilised men with adequate uniforms, gear, or even quarters and weapons, it should come as no surprise that those returning from the frontlines are not getting adequate psychological assistance. On top of that, a medical officer told recently mobilised Russian men to ask their female partners and family members to provide them with tampons and pads to stop bleeding from potential gunshot wounds.

RUSSIA: Our army is made of manly, manly, masculine men and that is why we are super strong, invincible warriors against troops weakened by wokeism!

ALSO RUSSIA: Ask your girlfriends to give you their tampons to put in bullet wounds, the Ukrainians are ripping us to shreds

— @[email protected] (@vanbadham) September 26, 2022

It should be of absolutely no surprise then, that if the Russian state cannot provide adequate medical help for the men in the field, it is not able to provide psychological or psychiatric assistance to people whose minds have been warped by the cruelties of war.

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More men like Ionkin will eventually return from the war, many of them involved in atrocities against civilians. Some of them were recruited by Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group private military company from Russia’s prisons and vast convict labour camp system. If they survive the six-month contract and do in fact receive their promised pardon.

Perhaps after being sentenced, Ionkin can re-enlist to fight in the war with the Wagner Group and return to Kostroma in a couple of months.

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