Attacks mount in Russia after Putin troop mobilization
A number of attacks on Russian authorities have been reported since President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial call-up of troops to join his struggling seven-month war in Ukraine.
In a statement on Monday, Russian authorities said that a 25-year-old male individual opened fire at a military registration and enlistment office in Ust-Ilimsk, resulting in a Kremlin military commander being critically wounded.
A video of the incident also showed the suspect firing at least one shot at the military commander as bystanders fled the office.
The military commander was transported to a nearby medical facility and the suspect was arrested and placed into custody, authorities said.
The shooter’s mother told a Russian media outlet that her son, Ruslan Zinin, was upset about his close friend being drafted into the conflict, despite having little to no military experience, according to The New York Times.
“Ruslan was very upset because of this, because his friend did not serve in the army,” Zinin’s mother told the local media outlet. “They said that there would be partial mobilization, but it turns out that they are taking everyone.”
In a statement through social media platform Telegram, Irkutsk region Gov. Igor Kobzev said the military commander is in critical condition and is “fighting for his life.”
“I can’t wrap my head around what happened, and I am ashamed that this is happening at a time when, on the contrary, we should be united,” Kobzev wrote in his statement.
In a separate incident, authorities said that a suspect rammed his vehicle into the entrance of a military recruitment center in Uryupinsk early Monday morning, setting the center on fire after throwing Molotov cocktails, according to The Wall Street Journal.
According to Russian independent news outlet Mediazona, there have been 17 targeted attacks on military recruitment centers and administrative buildings since Putin’s announcement of partial troop mobilization last week, which came as Ukraine has made significant gains in reclaiming its territory.
Mediazona also noted that in total 54 attacks on military recruitment centers and administrative buildings happened since Russia’s conflict with neighboring Ukraine began in February.
Thousands of Russians are fleeing or attempting to flee the country to avoid possible conscription.
Putin made the mobilization announcement in a televised address, marking the first time Russia has called up another round of troops since World War II, with Kremlin officials specifying that up to 300,000 individuals could be called up to join the military.
Putin’s announcement sparked demonstrations across dozen of Russian cities, leading authorities to arrest up to 2,356 protesters as of Sunday, according to Russia-based human rights organization OVD-Info.
Also on Monday, at least 15 people were killed and another 24 wounded in a school shooting in central Russia, though the shooter’s motive remains unknown.