Russia admits to draft problems as anger flares into violence

MOSCOW – The Kremlin acknowledged Monday that its new military draft to reinforce the Russian assault on Ukraine has been rife with problems.

The admission occurred the same day that a man, apparently distraught over the mobilisation, shot and seriously wounded a recruitment officer at a draft office in Siberia.

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” last week to call up 300,000 people with military experience to join the fight, there have been widespread reports of conscription in rural regions that has swept up ethnic minorities and, it appears, people unfit for duty.

Protests have erupted in far-flung cities, recruitment centres have been the target of arson, and thousands of military-age have packed planes and vehicles to flee across Russia’s borders.

The Kremlin’s spokesperson, Mr Dmitry Peskov, acknowledged Monday that there have been irregularities in the call-up, but he tried to shift blame to the local authorities carrying out the mobilisation among resistant civilians across the country.

“There are cases when the decree has been violated,” Mr Peskov told reporters. He said the problems were being addressed.

Analysts say because of Russia’s supply problems and heavy casualties in the war, the Kremlin will most likely struggle to train and equip the new recruits.

“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 frontline with minimal relevant preparation,” Britain’s defence intelligence said Monday. “They are likely to suffer a high attrition rate.”

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