Ukraine live briefing: Gunman attacks Russian military center; Snowden granted Russian citizenship

Soldiers board a bus near a military recruitment center in Krasnodar, Russia, on Sunday, days after President Vladimir Putin announced a military mobilization to fortify his forces in Ukraine.
Soldiers board a bus near a military recruitment center in Krasnodar, Russia, on Sunday, days after President Vladimir Putin announced a military mobilization to fortify his forces in Ukraine. (AP)

A man shot and wounded an official at a Siberian military recruitment office Monday amid a wave of unrest in Russia after President Vladimir Putin announced a military mobilization last week.

Putin on Monday granted Russian citizenship to Edward Snowden, a former security consultant who was granted asylum in Russia in 2013 after leaking information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs.

Staged referendums continued in Ukraine’s Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson regions, and are expected to end Tuesday. The votes have been widely criticized in the West — and by some of Russia’s own allies — as a pretext for and prelude to Russian annexation.

Here’s the latest on the war and its ripple effects across the globe.

Key developments

  • Putin granted citizenship on Monday to Edward Snowden, the former security consultant who leaked information about top-secret U.S. surveillance programs and is still wanted by Washington on espionage charges, The Washington Post’s Mary Ilyushina reports. The “only thing that has changed is as a result of his Russian citizenship, he may now be conscripted to fight in Ukraine,” White House spokesman Ned Price said at a news briefing. That could only happen in a full national draft, which remains improbable.
  • A gunman was detained after he shot and severely wounded an official overseeing Russia’s military mobilization at a commissariat in the Irkutsk region in Siberia, the area’s governor, Igor Ivanovich Kobzev, said Monday on Telegram. The official, Alexander Eliseevan, is in “critical condition” and undergoing emergency medical treatment, the governor said. According to local news outlets, the alleged gunman’s mother said his best friend had been called up to fight despite having never served in the army.
  • The Kremlin acknowledged that some Russians who do not meet the criteria for military mobilization have received summons, and it pledged to rectify errors. Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Monday that “no decisions” have been made to close Russia’s borders to prevent military-age men from fleeing, despite media reports in recent days that a decision was imminent.
  • The United States is set to send $457.5 million in new nonmilitary aid to Ukraine, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday. The funds will go toward bolstering the capacity of Ukrainian law enforcement and criminal justice institutions, he added.
  • Protesters blocked a highway Sunday and took to the streets in Dagestan, a largely impoverished Russian republic that borders Georgia and Azerbaijan, to oppose the call-up of reservists to Russia’s armed forces. Videos posted on Twitter by the independent Russian outlet Mediazona show people shouting, “No war!” and “Our children are not fertilizer!” on a busy street interspersed with police vehicles and officers. More than 140 people in the region were arrested, according to OVD-Info.

Battleground updates

  • Kyiv is focusing its military operations on the Donetsk region, Zelensky said in his nightly address Monday, characterizing the situation in the region as “particularly tough.” The mobilization of Russians and of Ukrainians in Kremlin-controlled territories is an “attempt to give commanders on the ground a constant stream of ‘cannon fodder’ ” that will merely delay an inevitable defeat by Ukrainian forces, he said.
  • Reservists mobilized in Russia probably will receive “minimal” training before being deployed to Ukraine, Britain’s Defense Ministry said Monday in its daily intelligence assessment. The ministry said the partial military mobilization announced by Putin represents “an administrative and logistical challenge” because a deficit of military trainers means fighters who largely have not had recent combat experience will be sent to the front unprepared, which probably will lead to a “high attrition rate.”
  • The United States is having an “ongoing conversation” with Ukraine about the weapons it needs to fight Russia, including Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), Blinken said in a “60 Minutes” interview that aired Sunday. This month, Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned the United States that providing longer-range missiles to Ukraine would be crossing a “red line” and make Washington a “direct party” to the conflict.

Global impact

  • Britain announced that it would impose sanctions on Russian officials involved in staged annexation referendums in Ukraine. Top Russian officials, oligarchs and “Putin’s favorite PR agency” face new financial restrictions, according to a statement released Monday.

How Russia’s war in Ukraine is dividing the Orthodox Christian world

  • Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, said Sunday that Russian soldiers who died in Ukraine would be cleansed of their sins, Reuters reported.
  • Italy’s election has thrown its stance on the war in Ukraine into question, with the country projected to elect its most far-right government since the fall of Benito Mussolini. Although the projected winner for prime minister, Giorgia Meloni, has consistently backed Ukraine, other figures in her circle have shown a fondness for Putin.
  • Pink Floyd co-founder Roger Waters is embroiled in a controversy in Poland, where his comments that in part blamed the Ukrainian political establishment for Russia’s invasion appear to have led to the cancellation of two of his concerts in Krakow.

From our correspondents

Propaganda newspapers show how Russia promoted annexation in Kharkiv. Over the months Russian troops occupied the northeastern Ukrainian city of Izyum, puppet authorities regularly distributed propaganda newspapers to residents, pushing a narrative of normalcy and unity even as homes and infrastructure were demolished, stores were looted and civilians struggled to find basic provisions to survive.

A trove of the Russian-language newspapers, provided to The Washington Post by a resident who said he kept them “for history,” paints a surreal version of events on the ground running in near total contradiction to the narrative from the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, Siobhán O’Grady and Sergii Mukaieliants report, and to accounts from residents who survived the violent takeover of the city in March.

Mary Ilyushina contributed to this report.

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