Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov has described the December beating of a recruit during military hazing as an outrageous incident, but has warned the news media not to exaggerate the case.

The minister told parliament the Russian army is one of the country's most law-abiding institutions, and he called news media criticism of the incident inaccurate.

He was referring to the case of 19-year-old Private Andrei Sichev, a recruit at the Chelyabinsk Tank Academy who was repeatedly kicked by senior soldiers and forced to crouch for hours suffering gangrene that required amputation of both of his legs.

The incident sparked outrage in the country's news media. But Ivanov accused news outlets of undermining the upcoming military conscription effort and treating Russia's military as if it were the army of an enemy state.

Hazing is widespread in the Russian military, a tradition left over from Soviet times.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.