British intelligence has reported that, as men called up for the country’s partial mobilization began arriving at military camps, a man shot a recruiter and set a conscription office on fire in Russia.
In Ust-Ilimsk, Irkutsk, a conscription office was shot at by the assailant, severely injuring a military recruitment officer.
Sky News has confirmed a video purportedly taken by a would-be recruit of the shooting.
It shows the gunman shooting 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.
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 mobilization last week that could see 300,000 reserves called up to fight.
It shows the man driving a car up to the entrance of the local government building in the center of the 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 on Monday 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 traveling 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 Defense 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 mobilization, 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 mobilization 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 securitized 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 mobilization, 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.
General Sir Richard Barrons, a former head of the Joint Forces Command, told Sky News some individuals who are mobilized 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 mobilization 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 the 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 defense 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.