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Russian Police Raid Warehouse in Search of War Recruits – Reports

A Wildberries warehouse. Sergei Petrov / / TASS

Law enforcement agents in central Russia's Tula region on Friday reportedly raided a warehouse belonging to the online retail giant Wildberries in search of fresh recruits for Moscow's war against Ukraine, according to news channels on the messaging app Telegram.

The raid, which took place in the town of Aleksino, was said to have targeted male migrants who recently obtained Russian citizenship but failed to complete their compulsory military registration, as well as conscription-age men suspected of evading military service, according to the Baza Telegram channel, which is believed to have links to security services.

At least 10 people were detained and handed military summons during the raid, which was said to have been carried out by local police and military officials, the Telegram channel Shot wrote. 

The Moscow Times could not independently verify Baza's or Shot's reports. 

Wildberries' press service said the raid on Friday was “pre-planned as a part of a military recruitment campaign” and “did not affect the operation of the warehouse in any way.” 

“Everything is working as usual. The warehouse's management assisted law enforcement agencies,” the company's press service was quoted as saying by the state-run TASS news agency.

Last week, Russian authorities raided a Wildberries warehouse in the town of Elektrostal, located in the Moscow region, rounding up over 100 people who were then forcibly transferred to military enlistment offices. 

Police raids targeting migrant workers hailing predominantly from Central Asian countries are a frequent occurrence in Russia as authorities seek to crack down on undocumented workers.

However, since the start of the war in Ukraine, these raids have increasingly become part of Russia’s efforts to use migrant workers for bolstering its troop numbers on the battlefield, experts told The Moscow Times in September. 

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