- Russian police and military officers are taking men and sending them to fight in Ukraine, per WaPo.
- Officials have seized men from restaurants, cafes, Metro stations, and workplaces, per the report.
- The Russian military has suffered significant losses since the start of the war in Ukraine.
Russian authorities are apparently grabbing many able-bodied men off the streets — including cafes, restaurants, and workplaces — to replenish their military manpower in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, according to The Washington Post.
After Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the “partial mobilization” of the country’s military reservists last month, an estimated 300,000 men and their families fled the country to seek refuge from being drafted into the conflict.
But Russian authorities are now reportedly rounding up ordinary men, in virtually any place where they can find them assembled.
Last week, military officers entered a Moscow business center and took virtually every man they could find, including musicians in the middle of a rehearsal, a courier who was making a delivery, and a man in his mid-50s who apparently had a disability, according to The Washington Post.
The men were all promptly taken to a military enlistment office as part of the government’s drive to refill their ranks after suffering massive losses against a sharp and enduring Ukrainian armed resistance.
Police officers have recently taken men from streets and Metro stations to fight in the war, and have even staked out apartment building lobbies to give military summonses.
Cafes, restaurants, and hostels have also been a part of the sweep, according to The Post.
Officials earlier this month even grabbed dozens of men from a homeless shelter in Moscow, per The Post.
Several men spoke with the newspaper under the condition that their last names not be published.
Alexi, a pacifist, told The Post that his office was raided last week, with authorities informing him that he needed to leave with them or they would “use force.”
“I was panicking. I’d never been detained before. Everyone knows that if you are detained by the police in Russia, it’s very bad,” he said.
Yevgeny, a mechanic who does not support the conflict, left his place of employment and chose to stay with a relative outside of Moscow, getting rid of his social media accounts and refraining from contacting friends.
“I don’t want to kill people, and I don’t want to be killed, so I really have to lie low now,” he told The Post. “But even here, I don’t feel safe. We live at a time when your neighbors could report on you.”
“I am panicking, and my mom is very nervous. I’m stressed, and I’m depressed. I try not to think how long this could go on, because you can go crazy,” he added.
He spoke of friends who initially backed the war, but began to think differently after they were mobilized to head to Ukraine.
“They have started to ask questions and surf the internet for information,” Yevgeny told The Post. “They don’t want to die, especially when you don’t understand why you should die. What is the point?”
Putin on Friday said that 222,000 of the targeted 300,000 reservists had been mobilized for the conflict.
The aggressive tactics taken to find additional men to supplant previous Russian officers have been polarizing, largely because cities including Moscow and St. Petersburg have not borne the brunt of casualties; men from rural regions have endured a large share of the losses.
Earlier this month, former CIA director David Petraeus said in a WABC radio interview that the war in Ukraine looked “very dire” for Putin.
“The bottom line is Ukraine has done vastly better than Russia has in mobilizing its capabilities in recruiting, training, equipping, help by the US and NATO nations big time, organizing, and employing additional forces and capabilities,” he said at the time.
Petraeus was also deeply skeptical of Putin’s mobilization of reservists, stating it would only produce “cannon fodder.”