ST PETERSBURG, Russia (Reuters) - A Russian firm has caused a stir after putting on sale a children's bed in the shape of a Buk missile launcher of the kind that shot down a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet in eastern Ukraine in 2014.
International prosecutors said last month the airliner had been shot down by a Buk missile fired from a village held by pro-Russian rebels. Moscow denies any involvement and points the finger at the Ukrainian army. All 298 people on board flight MH17, most of them Dutch, were killed.
The children's bed, made by the company in St Petersburg, has angered many Russian consumers who have vented their spleen online complaining that it is in bad taste.
But Anton Koppel, who runs CaroBus, which makes unusual furniture for children, shrugged off any political overtones as he spoke next to a camouflage-coloured bed crafted to look like the Buk surface-to-air self-propelled launcher.
Retailing at 11,000 roubles ($176.78) at a shopping centre in St Petersburg, Russia's second city, the bed has a red star and Russia's tricolour flag. But instead of "Buk" it bears the name "Defender" - a concession to angry consumers.
"We didn't want to traumatise people, many people wrote about this being related to the situation in the Donbass (separatist region), to the downed plane and other horrific things, but this is not what we think," Koppel told Reuters.
He said the bed's frame was simply a design that had proved popular with customers.
"This is simply a military vehicle which looks really cool. But nevertheless, we understand that people can be different, we appreciate their interest in this. And of course, we didn't mean to traumatise anyone and we simply renamed it Defender."
Reporting by Reuters Television; Writing by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Jack Stubbs