, 2022-09-22 15:35:19,
Russia’s partial military mobilization aimed at slowing Ukraine’s high-octane counteroffensive was in full swing Thursday: Conscripts answered summonses, schools were commandeered for recruit intake – and there was plenty of controversy.
In the mountainous Siberian republic of Buryatia, 11 schools began doubling as administration buildings for draftees, the local arigus-tv reported. Medical exams were waived unless the recruit raised an issue.
“Buryatia survived one of the scariest nights in its history today,” resident and activist Alexandra Garmazhapova said in a Facebook post. “People are fleeing to Mongolia.”
President Vladimir Putin, in a speech to his people Wednesday, said the mobilization was necessary because his country is fighting not just Ukraine but the entire Western world. The announcement set off protests resulting in hundreds of arrests around the country – and a run on plane tickets out of it.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the military is adding 300,000 soldiers from the ranks of 25 million reservists – primarily gunners, artillerymen, tank drivers and signal corps veterans. But some draftees said they had no military experience. The British Defense Ministry said the new troops “are unlikely to be combat-effective for months.”
A spinoff from the shuttered independent Russian website Novaya Gazeta, Novaya Gazeta Europe, said the prices for tickets to countries not requiring visas jumped significantly and were “completely gone” by Wednesday night. And it noted that statements by authorities on how partial mobilization will take place in practice were “very contradictory and sometimes did not coincide with reality.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected the outlet’s report that a hidden article of Russia’s mobilization order allows for drafting up to 1 million reservists into the army.
Other major developments:
►Russia has given its formal diplomatic approval to Lynne Tracy’s appointment as the new U.S. ambassador to Moscow, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Thursday. President Joe Biden announced her nomination Tuesday; she will need Senate approval.
►Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania said they won’t offer asylum to Russians fleeing mobilization into the military, hoping discontent with the Russian authorities grows at home. The three Baltic countries closed their borders to most Russians earlier in the week.
►Voting begins Friday on referendums in four Russian-controlled regions of…
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