Eleven Russian soldiers were killed and 15 wounded in an attack on a military firing range, Russian officials have announced.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the incident took place Saturday in the Belgorod region of southwestern Russia, which is just across the border from Ukraine, according to The Associated Press.
The two men who opened fire were killed. Russian officials said the men came from a former Soviet republic that officials did not name.
“During a firearms training session with individuals who voluntarily expressed a desire to participate in the special military operation [against Ukraine], the terrorists opened fire with small arms on the personnel of the unit,” government-run news agency RIA reported, according to the BBC.
The incident could not be independently verified, The New York Times noted.
Reuters reported that an adviser to Ukraine President Volodymyur Zelenskyy said in an interview that the attackers were from Tajikistan, a former Soviet republic in central Asia, and that the shooting started after a religious argument.
Russia has been mobilizing reservists as part of its war against Ukraine. Russian leader Vladimir Putin said Friday that more than 220,000 reservists have been called up, and said his goal of 300,000 reservists would be reached in two weeks.
A recent report in The Washington Post highlighted the ways in which Russia is filling the ranks of its army.
The report said that in one recruiting raid in Moscow “[a] man from a Moscow service agency, very drunk, in his mid-50s, with a walking disability” was among those taken.
The Post report quoted one man identified only by the first name “Yevgeny” as saying he has gone into hiding at a relative’s vacation home “far from Moscow” to avoid serving in the Russian army.
“I don’t want to kill people, and I don’t want to be killed, so I really have to lie low now,” he told the newspaper. “But even here, I don’t feel safe. We live at a time when your neighbors could report on you. They might call police and say that there is a young guy staying in this house when he should be fighting fascists in Ukraine.”
He said some who supported the war at first do not any longer.
“I have a couple of friends who supported the war believing that there are Nazis there who kill poor Ukrainians and that Ukrainians should be liberated and so on. But they are changing their opinions after mobilization. They have started to ask questions and surf the internet for information,” Yevgeny said.
“They don’t want to die, especially when you don’t understand why you should die,” he said. “What is the point?”
The raids to secure soldiers have not been popular.
Andrei Klishas, who is a member of Putin’s United Russia party, said they might even be illegal, according to the Post.
“It is inadmissible to grab everyone on the street indiscriminately,” he said.
Some of those called up have said they were given rusty weapons, while other reports have said the men mobilized were killed upon reaching the front lines because they had insufficient training.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.