Man shoots up military office amid conscription in Siberia

Published September 27, 2022
Russian military cadets wait for an excursion at Manezhnaya Square just outside the Kremlin in Moscow on September 26, 2022. — AFP
Russian military cadets wait for an excursion at Manezhnaya Square just outside the Kremlin in Moscow on September 26, 2022. — AFP

MOSCOW: A man opened fire at a military conscription office in Siberia on Monday, the latest incident to strain Russia’s recruitment drive for its struggling offensive in Ukraine.

The shooting took place in the town of Ust-Ilimsk in Irkutsk, a vast and sparsely-populated region of southeastern Siberia.

It was the most recent escalation in a series of unprecedented protests and attacks on recruitment offices that are drawing a cloud over the Kremlin’s efforts to reverse military setbacks in east Ukraine.

Investigators said the suspect was a 25-year-old local and a woman who identified herself as his mother said he was “very upset” after his friend — who had no prior military experience — received call-up orders.

Regional governor Igor Kobzev said a recruitment officer had been wounded and that “doctors are fighting for his life”.

“I’m ashamed that this is happening at a time when, on the contrary, we should be united. We must not fight with each but against real threats,” Kobzev said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilisation last week after Moscow’s army faced a bruising counter-offensive that saw them pushed back from much of Ukraine’s eastern Kharkiv region.

The announcement sparked panic and demonstrations, with more than 2,000 anti-mobilisation protesters detained across the country. Authorities in the North Caucasus republic of Dagestan arrested more than 100 people at anti-mobilisation protests, a police-monitoring NGO said.

The Kremlin on Monday admitted that authorities in several Russian regions had not carried out mobilisation orders in line with Putin’s decree, but said the situation was improving.

“Instances of non-compliance (with the decree) are decreasing,” it said.

Published in Dawn, September 27th, 2022

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