Russian Officer Suspended After Thousands Called Up In Error

In this file photo, Russian soldiers walk along a street in Mariupol on April 12, 2022, as Russian troops intensify a campaign to take the strategic port city, part of an anticipated massive onslaught across eastern Ukraine, while Russia’s President makes a defiant case for the war on Russia’s neighbour. (Photo by Alexander NEMENOV / AFP)


An enlistment officer in a far eastern Russian region has been suspended and transferred after thousands of people were mistakenly called up to fight in Ukraine, officials said Monday.

“The military commissar of the Khabarovsk region, Yuri Laiko, has been suspended. This will have no impact on the fulfilment of the tasks that the president has set for us,” the region’s governor, Mikhail Degtyaryov, said in a Telegram video.

He did not specify the reason for the dismissal but referred to a series of mistakes in the recruitment process.

“Out of several thousand compatriots who received a summons and arrived at military enlistment offices in the past 10 days, around half were sent back home for failing to meet the selection criteria,” Degtyaryov said.

“Partial mobilisation should only apply to the categories that have been approved by the ministry of defence and the president. Any abuse must be stopped,” he also said.

READ ALSO: Ukraine Forces Entering Key Town In Russia-Annexed Region

Laiko was transferred to the nearby region of Magadan, a military spokesman told state news agency RIA Novosti.

The previous military commissar there had also been removed from the post for mistakes in the mobilisation drive, according to RIA Novosti.

In Russia’s East Siberian region of Yakutia around 300 men were sent back home after being wrongfully called up, according to a local official cited by Russian news agency TASS.

President Vladimir Putin on September 21 ordered a mobilisation of hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight in Ukraine, sparking protests and an exodus of eligible men from the country.

Authorities said they would call up 300,000 people with “relevant” skills or military experience.

But there have been outbursts of frustration after people who were not eligible, including students and elderly or infirm people, received summons.

Last week Putin said officials should “correct all mistakes” made during the recruitment drive.

Protests broke out across Russia including Dagestan, an impoverished region in the Caucasus that has seen more men killed in the offensive than any other parts of the country, according to a tally made by independent media of death notices published online.

The military commissar of the town of Derbent in Dagestan apologised in a statement late last week after footage circulated on social media showing official cars with loudspeakers driving around calling all men to mobilisation offices.

Commissar Farid Musaev said the employees responsible for issuing the “incorrect” calls would be “held accountable”.


Emmanuel Egobiambu

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