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Eight dead in Russian military base shooting: What we know so far

Source: Meduza

A soldier serving his mandatory military term killed eight of his fellow servicemembers in Russia’s Zabaikalsky region. The incident took place at Military Base 54160, which is located in the Gorny Closed Administrative Territorial Unit. Russia’s Defense Ministry has officially reported that the soldier opened fire from his service weapon during a changing of the guard. Two officers were among those killed. The Telegram channel Life Shot claimed that the shooter was a 20-year-old named R. Shamsutdinov. He first shot an officer and then began shooting at the other soldiers once they had gone prone to protect themselves. In addition to the eight soldiers who were killed, two received injuries that Defense Ministry officials said were non-life-threatening. An unofficial list of those killed has begun circulating online.

It is not yet clear how the shooter was caught. Life Shot reported that the soldiers themselves were able to stop and restrain him even before police arrived. However, another Telegram-based outlet, Mash, indicated that the shooter left his base with a machine gun still in his possession, and “a whole special operation” had to be arranged to track him down.

The Defense Ministry has insisted that the shooting was not caused by a conflict among the servicemembers. Defense Ministry officials told journalists that the soldier may have opened fire due to a nervous breakdown that was triggered by personal circumstances unrelated to his military service. Simultaneously, Life Shot claimed that a source on the ground pointed to internal mistreatment as the cause of the shooting. A Defense Ministry commission led by Deputy Defense Minister Andrei Kartapolov has been deployed to the Zabaikalsky region to investigate the incident. The commission also includes a team of military prosecutors.

The last time one soldier killed several others in Russia was in September 2017. At that time, Private First Class Gasan Abdulakhadov shot an officer and two other soldiers in the Amur region. Abdulakhadov went into hiding and was later killed during an attempt to arrest him. In the course of the past 10 years, there have been three mass shootings in Russia in which soldiers killed other soldiers.

Report by Grigory Levchenko

Translation by Hilah Kohen

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