Thu, Jun

'We Aren't Going to War': Draft Officer Shot Amid Russian Anger Over Conscription


RUSSIAN DRAFT - The head of a military draft office in the Russian town of Ust-Ilimsk was being treated for injuries on Monday after being shot by a gunman who—like more than 1,000 people who have been arrested for protesting in recent days—was reportedly angry over President Vladimir Putin's recent military conscription announcement.

Reuters reported that the gunman, who was detained, identified himself as Ruslan Zinin, age 25.

According to The Moscow Times, Zinin was "very upset" that his best friend, who has no military experience, "received draft papers despite the authorities' pledge to recruit strictly experienced reservists."

The gunman entered the recruitment office in Irkutsk and said, "No one will go fight," according to Al Jazeera, before opening fire.

Visegrad24 reported that he said, "We aren't going to war, we are all going home."

The attack on the local draft office came days after Putin announced a "partial mobilization" of about 300,000 Russians who will be called up to fight the war in Ukraine.

Putin told the public that "only those citizens will be drafted to military service who are currently in the reserve and first of all those who have served in the army, who have certain professions and have necessary experience," but there have been several reports from across the country of people with no experience being called up to join the invasion of Ukraine.

A Kremlin spokesperson claimed Monday that those draft notices have been sent in error.

Reuters reported that several draft offices have been attacked since Putin's announcement last week.

In the city of Ryazan, southeast of Moscow, a man reportedly attempted to set himself on fire at a bus station on Sunday, saying he did not want to go to war.

More than 1,100 Russians were arrested for protesting the war and the conscription plan following Putin's announcement, and the number has grown since then.

Tens of thousands of people who are of conscription age have attempted to flee the country in recent days, crossing borders to Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. The government could close its borders to people eligible for the mobilization as soon as Wednesday, according to the Times.

As he announced the mobilization, Putin suggested Russian forces already in Ukraine are struggling to counter the military aid supplied by the U.S. and other countries.

(Julia Conley is a staff writer for Common Dreams where this article was first published.)

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