Gunman attacks Russian military recruiter as thousands flee mobilization

A youth shot and wounded a chief recruiting officer in Russia’s Irkutsk region on Monday, local authorities said saidThousands of fighters are fleeing the country to escape President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine.

The alleged shooter in the attack on the military commissar in the small village of Ust-Ilimsk in Irkutsk was clearly distressed that his close friend had been called up for duty despite having no prior military service.

When Putin announced “partial mobilization” last week, he said only veteran soldiers would be called up. “In other words, only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have certain military professional characteristics and relevant experience, will be called up,” he assured the Russian people in a national address.

But from all over Russia there are reports of people being called up for duty, even from ardent supporters of the war, without military experience, or too old or physically unable to serve. Those reports, along with the government’s admission that thousands of fighting-age men have fled the country to avoid conscription, suggest the unruly mob is becoming the latest defeat in Putin’s war.

A video clip of Monday’s shooting shows the suspect, identified as 25-year-old Ruslan Zinin, firing at least one shot into the office.

“The shooter was immediately arrested and will certainly be punished,” Irkutsk regional governor Igor Kobzev wrote in his Telegram blog. “I can’t wrap my head around what happened, and I’m ashamed that it’s happening at a time when, on the contrary, we should be together.”

As Ukraine annexation efforts continue, Russian mobilization prompts a response

The recruiter, Alexander Eliseev, was hospitalized in critical condition, Kobzev said.

Zinina’s mother, Marina Zinina, said Russian outlet ASTRA said her son was upset because his best friend received a mobilization summons despite never having served in the army.

“They said there would be a partial integration, but it turns out they take everyone,” she said.

As local commissioners raced to fill quotas, call-up notices 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 uproar. Others, such as 59-year-old Viktor Dychok, who has stage 1 skin cancer and is blind in one eye, were called to duty, independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta reported.

“He has astigmatism, high blood pressure, age-related deafness,” his daughter told the newspaper, adding that the family hoped he would receive medical attention. “[But] No one at the hospital objected to this; Everyone follows the plan.

In the confusion over who would be summoned, thousands of Russians continued to flee the country, fearing that the Kremlin would soon move to close the border. The attack in Irkutsk was just one of many incidents that have shown that mob resistance is becoming more widespread – and more unpredictable.

In the western Russian city of Ryazan, a man set himself on fire at a bus station to protest the war. local outlet YA62.ru It reported that he “started laughing and shouting that he did not want to take part in special operations in Ukraine,” using the Kremlin-preferred term for war.

Online video showed the man being carried out of the bus terminal by police and ambulance personnel who did not appear to be seriously injured.

Sporadic protests have also erupted, including in Russian regions with predominantly ethnic minority populations. Like Dagestan, where the majority of inhabitants are Muslims, and the indigenous lands of Buryatia and Yakutia. Local activists say men in the area are being targeted by mob bans.

More than 2,300 protesters have been detained in Russian cities since Putin announced a partial mobilization on Wednesday morning, according to rights groups. OVD-Infowhich monitors protest activities.

Propaganda newspapers show how Russia encouraged the annexation of Kharkiv

Border crossings between Georgia and Kazakhstan have caused traffic jams for miles as Russians continue to leave over the weekend and on Monday.

“The jam at the Russian-Georgian border is about 20 kilometers long” — roughly 12½ miles — “and the waiting time to get into Georgia is now up to three days,” Nikolai Levshitz, a Russian-language blogger who helps expats assimilate in Georgia, wrote in his daily Telegram update.

With air tickets to virtually all visa-free destinations sold out, Russians are fleeing on foot, by car or even by bicycle. Photos and video clips posted on social media show piles of abandoned bicycles near border posts.

A Russian man who flew to Istanbul on Monday morning said he took a charter flight from Moscow because commercial flights were sold out. He said he paid about $5,000 for his ticket.

Reports from independent Russian outlets said authorities could close the country’s borders to military-age men as early as Wednesday.

Outlets Meduza and Khodorkovsky Live each reported, citing Russian government sources, that Moscow would halt the exodus as soon as Moscow announces the results of referendums held in parts of four Ukrainian territories under Russian control. The results of the referendum, illegal under Ukrainian and international law, will no doubt be reported by the Kremlin as overwhelming support for Russian annexation.

The West has slammed the referendum as a “sham” and Britain on Monday announced a new round of sanctions against more than 90 individuals and companies involved in organizing the process, which is expected to end on Tuesday.

“Sham referendums held at gunpoint cannot be free or fair and we will never recognize their results,” British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said in a statement. “They follow a clear pattern of violence, intimidation, torture and forced deportations from Russia-occupied Ukraine.”

The Kremlin holds a proxy referendum as Russia aims to annex Ukrainian land

Putin and other Russian officials have signaled that once Russia annexes the Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia regions, the Kremlin will view any Ukrainian attack there as a direct strike against Russia — justifying strong retaliation, including the possible use of nuclear weapons, and partial or full martial law. To provide basis for promulgation of law.

On Monday, Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the rumours, saying “no decision has been made in this regard.”

But Russia’s international isolation is deepening. Japan announced on Monday that it would ban the export of 21 Russian compounds that could be used to make chemical weapons, and Tokyo warned Moscow of further nuclear threats.

Later on Monday, Russia’s domestic security agency detained the Japanese consul general in the eastern city of Vladivostok, Motoki Tatsunori, and charged him with espionage. Russian authorities declared him persona non grata, meaning he must leave the country.

Thousands of miles from Moscow, Putin met with his closest ally, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, in the sunny Black Sea resort city of Sochi.

Lukashenko allowed Belarus to be used to invade Ukraine in February and has publicly supported Russia throughout the conflict, even as it has lost ground and momentum.

In 2020, Lukashenko claimed he was re-elected in an election widely condemned as fraudulent. He then staged protests and thousands of Belarusians were beaten and harshly imprisoned. In the two years that followed, about 200,000 people left Belarus.

During their meeting on Monday, Lukashenko told Putin not to “worry” that Russian men are now doing the same.

“Let’s say there are 30,000, even 50,000 left,” Lukashenko told Putin. “So what? If they had stayed here, would we have had our men? Let them run.”

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

The War in Ukraine: What You Need to Know

Latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the “partial mobilization” of the military in his address to the nation on September 21, calling the move “an attempt to defend Russian sovereignty against the West, which is using Ukraine to divide and destroy Russia.” follow us Live updates here.

Fight: A successful Ukrainian counteroffensive has forced a large Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in recent days, as troops abandoned towns and villages they had captured since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Annexation Referendum: According to Russian news agencies, the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine will hold referendums that are illegal under international law from September 23 to 27. Another round of referendums will be held by the Moscow-appointed administration in Kherson starting Friday.

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

How you can help: Here are ways they can in the US Help support the Ukrainian people Also What people around the world are donating.

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