The mayor of Vorkuta, a coal-mining town in the Arctic republic of Komi, has enlisted in the Russian army to fight in the country’s war against Ukraine.
“The time has come to offer direct support to our boys and for me to join the special military operation as a military serviceman of Russia’s Defense Ministry,” Mayor Yaroslav Shaposhnikov announced at a pro-war rally Tuesday.
Shaposhnikov, 44, said he would be joined on the frontline by five of his colleagues, all local officials from Vorkuta. But representatives of the city administration later said that the five civil servants “could change their minds,” regional news outlet Sever.Realii reported.
“This was a conscious decision. The head of [the republic of] Komi supported my [choice]. Victory will be ours,” the mayor said of his surprise decision on Tuesday in front of a crowd of some 200 people, most of whom were state workers who had been required to attend the event.
Shaposhnikov is expected to join Russian forces fighting in Ukraine in May and his military service will last for one year, his press secretary told Sever.Realii.
Shaposhnikov will be replaced by one of his deputies until a new mayor is elected, the press secretary added.
In October last year, Shaposhnikov gained notoriety when he said during a video interview that “around 10%” of Russian volunteers choose to go to war to avoid nagging from their wives.
“Dear women, take care of your husbands. Your husbands … don’t feel [the security of] the homefront when they are constantly nagged and that motivates them to go to the frontlines [in Ukraine],” Shaposhnikov said.