A man has opened fire on an enlistment centre and another recruitment office has been attacked with Molotov cocktails – after Vladimir Putin ordered the conscription of at least 300,000 men in Russia.
The violence comes as the first tranche of people ordered to report for duty arrive at military bases, and it follows a weekend of protests, violence and arrests as people voice their anger and demonstrate over the president’s mobilisation plan.
The gunman opened fire at a conscription office in the town of Ust-Ilimsk, Irkutsk – critically wounding a military recruitment officer.
Sky News has verified a video of the shooting – reportedly by a would-be conscript.
It shows the gunman shoot the recruiter who falls to the ground, as others at the draft office start running out to the sounds of a woman screaming.
He was detained by police and identified himself as 25-year-old Ruslan Zinin in a separate video posted on social media.
More online footage showed the victim being carried out of the building on a stretcher to an ambulance.
Irkutsk region governor Igor Kobzev wrote on the Telegram messaging app that the recruitment officer was in hospital in a critical condition, adding the detained gunman “will absolutely be punished”.
It comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin – faced with a series of defeats in Ukraine – announced a partial mobilisation last week that could see 300,000 reserves called up to fight.
Elsewhere, a man was seen throwing Molotov cocktails at a military registration and enlistment office in Uryupinsk, in footage circulating on social media.
It shows the man driving a car up to the entrance of the local government building in the centre of the Russian town.
He can then be seen lighting several Molotov cocktails, throwing them one by one at the entrance to the building.
Town officials confirmed the building was set on fire early this morning, and a man was detained. Damage was minimal and no one was injured, they added.
The threat of mass conscription has sparked protests around the country, and military-aged men have been fleeing in droves.
“Everyone who is of conscription age should be banned from travelling abroad in the current situation,” Sergei Tsekov, a member of Russia’s upper house of parliament, the Federation Council, told RIA news agency on Monday.
Russia faces an administrative and logistical challenge to provide training for the new recruits, the UK Ministry of Defence said in its latest intelligence update.
Many tens of thousands of call-up papers have already been issued.
“Many of the drafted troops will not have had any military experience for some years,” the MoD said.
“The lack of military trainers, and the haste with which Russia has started the mobilisation, suggests that many of the drafted troops will deploy to the front line with minimal relevant preparation.
“They are likely to suffer a high attrition rate.”
Videos have emerged showing men being forced onto buses as many citizens refused to take part in the war.
Protests over mobilisation have taken place in more than a dozen cities across Russia, with girls as young as 14-years-old detained.
Hundreds of people were arrested over the weekend, and there were major protests in the Dagestan region yesterday.
Sky correspondent Alex Rossi in Moscow said: “Russia is a very heavily securitised police state. Dissent isn’t tolerated, but there have been sporadic protests all over the country. Thousands of people have been arrested, protesting against what the Kremlin is calling a partial mobilisation, but really, what to you and I, looks like mass conscription.”
The call-up of 300,000 reserves is almost double the initial invasion force, “so is a reflection really of how badly things are going on the battlefield, and shows that they have a very significant manpower problem”, he said.
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General Sir Richard Barrons, a former head of the Joint Forces Command, told Sky News some individuals who are mobilised may find themselves on the front line in Ukraine very quickly.
“Of course, they wouldn’t necessarily be very enthusiastic about that,” he said. “And they won’t be very well trained, and are probably not very well equipped for this kind of mobilisation to make a difference.
“Russia would have to invest in training and equipping these large numbers of people that would take them well into next year. And it just doesn’t look like they have the training machinery, the logistics or the weapons to make this really work any time soon.”
As Russia steps up its conscription of citizens, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has urged opposition troops to surrender to his country’s forces.
It comes as “sham” referendums continue in contested territory, which could lead to formal annexation of Ukraine’s land.
They are being held in the self-declared Donetsk (DPR) and Luhansk People’s Republics (LPR), and in Russian-occupied parts of the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions.
The move comes eight years after a similar process in Russian-occupied Crimea, which Moscow said was justification for annexing the peninsula.
Sky’s security and defence editor Deborah Haynes in Dnipro, Ukraine, said the move was “a further escalation of the war”.
“There is no sign on the Ukraine side that they are backing down, but they are clearly going to have to counter an ever-increasing Russian force as they try to defend their territory and win back their land,” she added.