Russian police have been 'rounding up homeless people' to fight against Ukraine
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Russian charities say police are trying to recruit the country’s most vulnerable men for their war against Ukraine.
The Food Not Bombs, a group of independent collectives handing out food to Moscow's homeless community, told Mediazona that they had seen dozens of homeless men being taken away to enlistment zones.
A spokesperson for the organization said: “A 60-year-old man was taken away, then he was released and came back.
"He told me that they were taken to the military commissariat, where many people who had been called up for war were standing in line.
"He was told that he didn’t fit the age criteria and that they only take men up to 45 years old.”
The head of the Salvation Hangar, an Orthodox Christian organization that helps the homeless, also told the outlet: “The police come here without anyone asking. They see a queue of people waiting for food — and then they grab them by the scruff of the neck, against their will.”
These charities reported on how military enlistment offices obtained the passports of the homeless men and forced them onto a bus. Those who didn’t have passports were later taken to the police station.
One guest staying at the Travel Inn hostel in Moscow told Mediazona that military officials came past and began taking guests’ passports.
They said that those that were served with draft papers were ordered to collect their things while those who weren’t were eventually released.
Officials recruiting the homeless come just weeks after Putin announced a ‘partial mobilization’.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also announced that 300,000 Russians with ‘relevant military experience’ would be called to serve, as per The Guardian.
However, according to the outlet, there had been many reports of mobilization errors as ineligible men were being called to fight.
Journalist Yanina Nimayeva said her husband was asked to serve despite never training in the army, as per The Guardian.
“‘Don’t you have five children?’ they asked him. My husband laughed and said ‘yes, five kids’. ‘Well, OK, expect your draft papers,’” she said.
“I understand that we have a quota. Our republic needs to gather 4,000 soldiers, but some parameters and principles of this partial mobilization must be observed.”