Moscow now blames Russian citizens for mobilisation errors

Russian conscripts are told there are no first aid kits available

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Moscow has now blamed Russian citizens for its mobilisation errors as a blame game intensifies. Vladimir Putin last week ordered the immediate mobilisation of 300,000 reservists in Ukraine.

This was the first mobilisation since the Second World War.

The Kremlin was quick to make clear only those with previous military experience would be called up to fight in its “special military operation”.

Others, including students and people with serious health conditions, were also labelled as being free from the draft.

But reports quickly emerged of both students and elderly Russians being ordered to prepare for the battlefield.

The Kremlin is understood first to have branded this a result of institutional bureaucracy, and others the Government itself.

But officials have now gone a step further, pointing fingers directly at low-level civilian officials and other Russian civilians.

Marat Usmanov, the head of Russia’s draft office in Altai, today said if anyone has been drafted by mistake, it is their own fault.

He is reported to have declared that these people did not notify military institutions about the change in their obligations.

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Max Seddon of the Financial Times commented: “It’s the logical end of an absurd blame game – officials have to find any scapegoat other than Putin for starting the war and declaring mobilisation.”

He added that the “official rhetoric” was becoming “really stunning”.

On state-controlled television channel Channel One Russia, Russian MP Andrei Gurulyov insisted civilian officials were to blame for mobilisation mishaps, rather than the military itself.

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He, quoted by Francis Scarr of the BBC, said: “Who in each region is responsible for the call-up… and for the presence of mobilisation deployment bases and everything else? … The governor [is]… I’m not wrong at all!”

Presenter Vladimir Solovyov also last night suggested that over-zealous recruitment officers ought to be shot.

Images shared online today show a crowd of elderly men, some clearly in their 60s, in Crimea gathering after being called up to fight in Ukraine.

In Krasnoslobodsk, Volgograd region, a 63-year-old man with diabetes and at risk of strokes was also drafted and deemed fit to fight by a doctor.

Those attempting to leave the country to avoid mobilisation are also set to face increasing difficulty, with numerous Russian lawmakers calling for the border to be closed.

After Putin announced his mobilisation last Wednesday, flights out of Moscow sold out in hours.

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