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UK Defense Ministry: Increase in arson attacks at Russian enlistment offices likely signals 'disaffection' amid war, potential mobilization

by Dmytro Basmat January 29, 2024 2:48 AM 2 min read
Reservists drafted during Russia's "partial" mobilization for its full-scale war against Ukraine attend a departure ceremony in Sevastopol, Russian-occupied Crimea, on Sept. 27, 2022. (Stringer/AFP via Getty Images)
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The doubling of arson attacks on Russian enlistment offices in the past six months is likely attributed to a "greater sense of disaffection" among Russians as Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine continues and a potential second wave of mobilization looms, the U.K. Defense Ministry's assessed in its intelligence report on Jan. 28.

Citing Russian government reports, the U.K. Defense Ministry notes that there have been 220 attacks on Russian military enlistment offices since the start of Russia's full-scale of Ukraine in February 2022. That number has effectively doubled in the last six month with 107 confirmed arson attacks since July 26, 2023.

Independent Russian media outlet Mediazona previously reported 113 arson attacks between February 2022 and July 2023.

During his annual news conference on Dec. 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin asserted there was no need for a second wave of Russian mobilization, a statement the U.K. Defense Ministry suggests reflects "a lack of confidence in (Putin's) promise" among the Russian population.

In recent months, the Kremlin has sought to suppress a growing anti-mobilization movement stemming from the wives of deployed Russian soldiers, amid waves of women-led protests that have emerged throughout Russia.

Analysts have also predicted that Putin has sough to minimize decisions that irritate Russia's electorate ahead of the upcoming Russian presidential election, including the issue of mass mobilization.

Some of those accused of perpetrating attack on enlistment offices have been charged with terrorism, an act for which there is a life sentence.

ISW: Kremlin intensifying efforts to limit criticism of war ahead of presidential election
Russian State Duma deputies from have brought forth a bill proposing the confiscation of personal property from those convicted of spreading “fake news” about Russia’s war in Ukraine, a move aimed to increase censorship ahead of the 2024 Russian presidential election, the Institute for the Study of…
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