A disturbing video of a bear being deliberately crushed to death that shocked Russia to its core has sparked an official investigation.
The footage, apparently shot by one of the assailants, shows two off-road trucks normally used by Russian oil and mining workers repeatedly drive over a brown bear sitting in the snow.
Investigators in the country’s Yakutia region, which spans the Siberian Arctic, said they were now examining the incident to determine whether it has broken animal cruelty laws.
The clip went viral on Tuesday before being picked up by state media. In it, one of the men in the truck shouts ‘Squash him! Squash him!’, and then squeals as the truck crushes the bear.
After driving back and forth over the poor animal – which attempts to get back up – the men can be heard saying, ‘It’s still alive’. They then poke the injured animal with a metal rod.
‘Currently we have established that the video shows local (Yakutia) residents,’ interior ministry spokeswoman Irina Volk said in a televised statement, Agence France-Presse reported.
Writing on his official Facebook page, the minister for natural resources and environment Sergei Donskoi added: ‘We will strive for the most serious punishment for these scoundrels. Such crimes should be followed by real prison terms.’
Last year, in another video, a construction worker in an Arctic military base fed a firecracker to a polar bear. The animal roared in pain after it exploded in its mouth.