Multiple Russian Military Offices Set Ablaze In Possible Sabotage

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According to a report from The Moscow Times, at least five enlistment offices for the Russian military have been set on fire since Russian President Vladimir Putin began his war against Ukraine. In one of the latest such incidents, “Molotov cocktails destroyed several computers and a database of conscripts in the Zubova Polyana settlement,” the outlet explains. Enlistment offices have also been hit with Molotov cocktails in the Voronezh, Sverdlovsk, and Ivanovo regions, and The Moscow Times adds: “Young men subsequently detained in Sverdlovsk and Ivanovo said they sought to disrupt the recruitment campaign in protest of Russia’s war in Ukraine.” The fifth area to see an enlistment office targeted was the Moscow-area town Lukhovitsy, where the arsonist later said he hoped to destroy archives.

Those who have engaged in these formidable forms of protest face criminal charges including property damage and terrorism. Across Russia, there have been protests against Putin’s actions in Ukraine since the currently unfolding conflict began — thousands upon thousands of arrests targeting anti-war demonstrators have been recorded, and Russian authorities have enacted harsh, new penalties, including the possibility of years-long jail sentences, for spreading supposedly false information related to Russian military action. Russia has reportedly lost thousands upon thousands of individual troops amid fighting in Ukraine since Putin’s war started, and the families these troops left behind are, of course, spread across Russia. Ret. Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman suggested that outrage in Russia over the deaths of these troops could help lead to Putin’s downfall. Overall, Ukraine claims to have killed over 21,000 Russian soldiers. For now, Putin’s regime refuses to acknowledge the true scope of its losses (other sources back up the notion of thousands dead).

Russian leaders have been bolstering their capabilities in Ukraine with the re-introduction of new personnel, although a U.S. official recently shared an assessment that Russia had lost 25 percent of its previously established combat power in Ukraine, a figure that incorporated troops who left the country (and could potentially come back). Now, Vadym Skibitsky, who serves as representative of the Chief Directorate of Intelligence of the Defense Ministry of Ukraine, says: “All battalion tactical groups that have so far been amassed in Belarus, near our northern borders, are now redeployed to eastern Ukraine. Moreover, the enemy now tries to identify the vulnerabilities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in order to launch a large-scale offensive and reinforce its success, primarily in the Donetsk operational area.”

As for further specifics, although Putin recently made a public show of ordering a change in tactics around the Ukrainian-held Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, where hundreds including military personnel and civilians are sheltering, that’s not the end of the story. Putin ordered the premises blockaded in place of continued efforts to seize the grounds, but Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said on Saturday that the Russians “resumed air strikes on the territory of the plant, on the defense lines of our troops and are attempting to carry out assault operations.”