11 killed as two men open fire on soldiers at Russian military training site
Gunmen from unnamed former Soviet states killed by return fire; Russia’s Defense Ministry labels incident a terrorist attack
Two men on Saturday fired at troops at a Russian military firing range near Ukraine, killing 11 and wounding 15 others, before getting killed, the Russian Defense Ministry said.
The ministry said in a statement that the shooting took place in the Belgorod region in southwestern Russia that borders Ukraine. It said that the two men from an unnamed ex-Soviet nation fired on soldiers during target practice and were killed by return fire. The ministry called the incident a terrorist attack.
“On October 15, two citizens of a CIS country committed an act of terror at the training range of the Western military district in the Belgorod region,” the Defense Ministry was quoted as saying.
The CIS, or Commonwealth of Independent States, was formed between republics that were part of the Soviet Union.
The shooting comes amid a hasty mobilization ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin to beef up Russian forces in Ukraine — a move that triggered protests and caused hundreds of thousands to flee Russia.
Putin said on Friday that over 220,000 reservists already had been called up as part of an effort to recruit 300,000.
Even though the Russian leader declared that only people who had recently served in the military will be subject to the call-up, activists and rights groups reported military conscription offices rounding up people without any army experience — some of whom were also unfit for service for medical reasons.
Some of the freshly called-up reservists posted videos of them being forced to sleep on the floor or even outside and given rusty weapons before being sent to the front lines.
Authorities have acknowledged that the mobilization was often poorly organized and promised to improve the situation.