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Russian Recruitment Offices Attacked Amid Anti-Draft Protests

Military registration and enlistment office in Nizhny Novgorod. google.maps

A Russian military recruitment office and an administration building were attacked overnight Thursday amid nationwide protests against President Vladimir Putin’s “partial” mobilization orders.

In the city of Nizhny Novgorod 440 kilometers east of Moscow, a Molotov cocktail attack started a small fire at a local enlistment building, according to the local news website.

Authorities said the attack caused minor damage to the building’s dental office, according to pro-Kremlin Telegram channel Mash.

A military enlistment office in Russia's second-largest city St. Petersburg also caught fire overnight, with local emergency services suspecting arson from inside the building as the cause, the Sota media outlet reported.

A slightly larger fire broke out at a local administration building in Tolyatti, a city located 1,000 kilometers east of Moscow. 

The city’s news website reported, citing emergency officials, that the Molotov cocktail attack burned down the administration’s entrance.

It was not reported whether there were any casualties or arrests in Nizhny Novgorod and Tolyatti.

The attacks took place amid protests in dozens of Russian cities against Putin’s orders for immediate “partial” mobilization of the country’s 25 million reservists for deployment in Ukraine. 

Independent monitors say nearly 1,400 protesters, most of them women, were detained. Reports said detained male protesters were reportedly served with draft orders inside police stations.

Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu placed the number of targeted recruits at 300,000 — which he said constitutes 1% of Russia’s pool of 25 million reservists. The specific number of reservists to be mobilized was classified in the Kremlin’s decree.

Human rights lawyers say the decree’s vague language allows Russia’s military the option to mobilize even more than the officially stated number of troops.

More than a dozen military recruitment offices have been attacked across Russia since the country launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.

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