Gunman attacks Russian military recruit as thousands flee crowd

A young man shot and wounded the chief of recruitment at a military recruitment center in Russia’s Irkutsk region on Monday, local authorities said. He saidThousands of men of fighting age continued to flee the country to escape being called up to serve in President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

Apparently the alleged shooter in the attack on the chief of recruiting, in a military commissariat in Ust Ilimsk, a small town in Irkutsk, was stunned that his close friend was called up for service despite the lack of previous military service.

With the partial mobilization, Putin announced that only experienced soldiers would be called up. “We are talking about partial mobilization,” the president said in a national address. In other words, only military reservists will be called up, primarily those who have served in the armed forces and have specific military professional specializations and corresponding experience.

But there was a deluge of reports across Russia, including from ardent supporters of the war, of people being called up to serve despite having no previous military service, being too old or physically unable to go to war. These reports, along with the government’s admission that thousands of men of fighting age have fled the country to avoid conscription, suggest that anarchic mobilization has become the latest disaster in Putin’s war.

A video of Monday’s shooting showed the 25-year-old man, Ruslan Zinin, firing at least one bullet inside the office.

“The shooter was arrested on the spot, he will certainly be punished,” wrote the governor of the Irkutsk Territory Igor Kupzev in his Telegram blog. “I can’t wrap my head around what happened, and I’m ashamed that this is happening at a time when, on the contrary, we should be united.”

Russia’s mobilization has sparked a backlash as Ukraine’s annexation efforts continue to move forward

According to Kobezhev, the conscript Alexander Eliseev was taken to the hospital in a critical condition.

Zinina’s mother Marina Zinina, Tell Russia’s Astra news agency said her son was distraught because his best friend had received a summons to mobilize despite not serving in the military.

She was quoted as saying, “They said there would be partial mobilization, but it turns out they’re taking everyone.”

When the local legations scrambled to meet the quota system, notices of mobilization were sent to men who should be legally exempt from service because of their age, health, or lack of military experience.

Some were sent home after a public outcry. And the independent Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported that others, such as 59-year-old Viktor Dyachuk, who has stage 1 melanoma and is blind in one eye, have been called to work.

Amid ongoing confusion over who might be summoned, thousands of Russians continued to flee the country on Monday, fearing the Kremlin would move soon to close the border to the fleeing men. Meanwhile, resistance to the summons to war duty led to a series of other violent incidents.

In Ryazan, a city in western Russia, a man is reported to have set himself on fire at a bus stop in protest of the war in Ukraine. local port She reported that the man, who was not immediately identified by the authorities, “began laughing and shouting that he did not want to participate in the special operation in Ukraine,” using the Kremlin’s preferred euphemism for the war.

A video posted by the outlet showed police and ambulance workers escorting the man, who was not seriously injured, outside the bus station.

Sporadic protests erupted, including in Russian regions inhabited mainly by ethnic minorities such as Dagestan, where the majority of the population is Muslim, or the indigenous lands of Buryatia and Yakutia. Local activists say these areas are disproportionately affected by the mobilization.

More than 2,300 protesters have been arrested in dozens of Russian cities since Putin announced partial mobilization on Wednesday morning, according to a human rights organization. OVD informationWhich monitors protest activity in the country.

Propaganda newspapers show how Russia promoted annexation in Kharkiv

Miles of traffic jams formed at border crossings with Georgia and Kazakhstan as Russians continued to leave over the weekend and into Monday.

“The jam on the Russian-Georgian border is still about 20 kilometers long” — nearly 12.5 miles — “and the waiting time to cross into Georgia is now up to three days,” said Nikolai Lifshitz, a Russian-speaking blogger who helps expats integrate into Georgia, as He wrote in his daily update on Telegram.

With airline tickets to almost all visa-free destinations selling out for a long time, Russians are crossing on foot, by car or even by bike in hopes of reducing the waiting time to leave. Pictures and videos posted on social media showed piles of abandoned bikes near the border posts.

A Russian man, who arrived at Istanbul Airport on Monday morning, said he boarded a chartered plane from Moscow due to the sale of commercial flights. He said he paid about $5,000 for his seat.

Weekend reports from independent Russian media said authorities may close the country’s borders to men of military age as soon as Wednesday.

Both Meduza and Khodorkovsky Live outlets, citing Russian government sources, reported that Moscow would halt departures once the results of the interim referendums now taking place in parts of four Ukrainian regions occupied by Russian forces are announced. There is no doubt that the results of the referendums, which are considered illegal under Ukrainian and international law, will be announced by the Kremlin as showing overwhelming support for Russia’s annexation of the occupied territories.

Western countries have criticized the referendums as “sham”, and Britain announced on Monday a new round of sanctions against 90 individuals and companies involved in organizing the process, expected to conclude on Tuesday.

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement: “Fake referendums taking place under the barrel of a gun can never be free or fair and we will never recognize their results.” “They follow a clear pattern of violence, intimidation, torture and forced deportation in the areas of Russia controlled by Ukraine.”

Kremlin agents hold referendums as Russia aims to seize Ukrainian territory

Putin and his supporters have pointed out that once Russia annexes the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya regions, the Kremlin will regard any Ukrainian attacks on those regions as direct strikes against Russia, which could create a justification for stronger reprisals, including the use of nuclear weapons. and provide the basis for declaring partial or complete martial law.

On Monday, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, denied the rumors, saying that “no decisions have been taken in this regard.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles from Moscow, Putin met his Belarusian counterpart, Alexander Lukashenko, in the sunny Black Sea resort of Sochi.

Lukashenko allowed Putin to use Belarus as a springboard for an invasion of Ukraine in February, including Putin’s failed attempt to seize Kyiv and overthrow the government of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In 2020, Lukashenko claimed to have been re-elected in an election widely ridiculed as fraudulent. Then he suppressed the protests, subjecting thousands of Belarusians to beatings and harsh prison sentences. In the next two years, from 100 thousand to 200 thousand people left Belarus.

In their meeting on Monday, Lukashenko asked Putin not to “worry” that the Russians are now doing the same.

Lukashenko told Putin about the recent departure of Russian men: “Suppose that 30 thousand, or even 50 thousand left.” “So what? If they had stayed here, would they be our people? Let them run,” Lukashenko said in his opening speech.

“I don’t know how you feel about it, but I wasn’t too concerned,” Lukashenko said, referring to the thousands who left in 2020. “Most of them are begging to go back,” he told Putin. “And it will come back to you, too.”

Robin Dixon and Natalia Abakumova in Riga, Latvia, and Karim Fahim in Istanbul contributed to this report.

The war in Ukraine: what you need to know

Last: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilization” of troops in a speech to the nation on September 21, framing the move as an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against a West that seeks to use Ukraine as a tool to “divide and destroy Russia”. . Follow us Live updates here.

Fighting: The successful Ukrainian counterattack forced a major Russian withdrawal in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops fled the cities and villages they had occupied from the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation referendums: Russian news agencies reported that the interim referendums, which would be illegal under international law, are scheduled for September 23-27 in the breakaway regions of Luhansk and Donetsk in eastern Ukraine. The Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson will hold another referendum in stages, starting on Friday.

Pictures: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the start of the war. Here are some of their most powerful works.

How you can help: Here are the ways those in the United States can do it Help support the Ukrainian people Beside What people donate around the world.

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