Live: Recruiter wounded in shooting at Russian mobilisation centre in Siberia

A man opened fire and wounded a recruitment officer at an enlistment centre in Siberia on Monday, the local governor said, as tensions mount over Russia's military mobilisation for the conflict in Ukraine. Earlier, Britain said that initial tranches of men called up for Russia's partial mobilisation had started arriving at military bases. Follow our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

10:05am: Recruiter wounded in shooting at mobilisation centre in Siberia, says local governor

A man opened fire and wounded a recruitment officer at an enlistment centre in Siberia on Monday, the local governor said, as tensions mount over Russia's military mobilisation for the conflict in Ukraine.

The incident occurred in the town of Ust-Ilimsk in Irkutsk, a vast and thinly populated region of southeastern Siberia. "In Ust-Ilimsk, a young man fired at the military registration and enlistment office," Irkutsk governor Igor Kobzev said in a message on Telegram.

Kobzev said a military commissar had been wounded in the shooting and was in critical condition. The shooter was immediately arrested, he said.

Critics have accused authorities of focusing mobilisation efforts in remote parts of the country like Siberia and the North Caucasus to avoid sparking opposition in major urban centres and especially Moscow.

9:55am: Zelensky says he doesn't think Putin is bluffing over nuclear arms

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he doesn't think Vladimir Putin is bluffing when he says Moscow would be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

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The Russian president said in a televised address last week that Moscow would use "all available means" to protect Russia and its people if its territorial integrity were threatened.

"Look, maybe yesterday it was bluff. Now, it could be a reality," Zelensky, who had previously played down such warnings as nuclear blackmail, told CBS News on Sunday.

"I don't think he's bluffing," Zelensky added.

The Ukrainian president said Russian strikes on or near two Ukrainian nuclear plants could be considered "contemporary use of nuclear weapons or nuclear blackmail."

9:45am: More Russians travelled to Finland during weekend, border data shows

Almost 17,000 Russians crossed the border into Finland during the weekend, an 80% rise from a week earlier, Finnish authorities said on Monday, as the influx of people continued in the wake of Russia's announcement of military mobilisation.

Wednesday's announcement of Russia's first public mobilisation since World War Two, to shore up its faltering Ukraine war, has triggered a rush for the border, the arrest of protesters and unease in the wider population.

The Finnish government, wary of becoming a major transit nation, on Friday said it will stop all Russians from entering on tourist visas within the coming days, although exceptions may still apply on humanitarian grounds.

9:42am: Russia's Putin to meet Belarus's Lukashenko later today

Russian President Vladimir Putin will meet his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko on Monday in Moscow, Belarus state media reported.

Russia and Belarus are close allies, with Russia having used bases in Belarus as a staging post for its troops, aircraft and equipment in the invasion of Ukraine.

9:29am: Pro-Kremlin businessman confirms he founded Wagner mercenary group

Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, an ally of President Vladimir Putin, said on Monday he had founded the Wagner mercenary group and confirmed its deployment to countries in Latin America and Africa.

Prigozhin said in a statement from his company that he founded the group in order to send fighters to Ukraine's Donbas region in 2014: "From that moment, on May 1, 2014, a group of patriots was born, which later acquired the name BTG Wagner".

Prigozhin has previously denied links with Wagner.

9:14am: Zelensky says two more burial sites found in liberated Izium

Ukraine has discovered two more mass burial sites containing the bodies of hundreds of people in the northeastern town of Izium, which Kyiv recaptured from Russia this month, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Zelensky made his comment in an interview with CBS published late on Sunday in which he also called for sustained sanctions pressure on Russia, whose troops were routed in northeastern Ukraine in a lightning counteroffensive this month.

Russian authorities did not immediately comment on Zelensky's assertion about the discovery of two more burial sites. Moscow regularly denies committing atrocities in the war in Ukraine or targeting civilians.

8:50am: EU crisis response meeting to discuss developments in Russia

Ambassadors of European Union member states have been invited to a meeting of the bloc's crisis response working group on Monday to discuss concerns about an escalation of the war in Ukraine, an EU official and an EU diplomat said.

Ambassadors are not usually present at meetings of the integrated political crisis response group, which includes officials from the EU's executive and its diplomatic service.

The closed-door meeting in Brussels is due to start at 10 a.m. (0800 GMT), the sources said.

8:19am: Japan bans chemical weapons-related goods to Russia, amid concerns over nuke threats

Japan has decided to ban exports of chemical weapons-related goods to Russia in an additional sanction against Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine, and is "deeply concerned" about the possible use of nuclear weapons, Chief Cabinet Secretary Hirokazu Matsuno said on Monday.

Japan also added 21 Russian organisations such as science labs as the target of existing export bans, according to a government statement released after Monday's cabinet meeting, which formally approved the new sanction measures announced by the foreign minister at a Group of Seven meeting last week.

"Japan is deeply concerned about the possibility of nuclear weapons used during Russia's invasion of Ukraine," Matsuno also said in a media briefing, adding Japan will continue to work with the international society in supporting Ukraine and sanctioning Russia.

07:33am: Initial tranches of men for Russia's mobilisation have started arriving at military bases, says Britain

Britain said on Monday that initial tranches of men called up for Russia's partial mobilisation have started arriving at military bases.

"Russia will now face an administrative and logistical challenge to provide training for the troops," the British Ministry of Defence said in an intelligence update.

Many of the drafted troops will not have had any military experience for some years, the intelligence update added.

Earlier last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that he had signed a decree on partial mobilisation beginning Wednesday.

07:12am: Ukraine military says Russian drones hit military objects in Odesa

Two drones launched by Russian forces into the Odesa region in Ukraine hit military objects causing a fire and the detonation of ammunition, the South command of Ukraine's forces said on Monday.

"As a result of a large-scale fire and the detonation of ammunition, the evacuation of the civilian population was organised," the command said in statement on the Telegram.

"Preliminarily, there have been no casualties."

04:33am: US warns Russia against using nuclear weapons in war against Ukraine

The United States has warned Russia privately of "catastrophic" consequences if it uses nuclear weapons as part of the Ukraine invasion, top US officials said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin made a thinly veiled threat to use nuclear arms in a speech Wednesday in which he announced the mobilisation of reservists following Ukrainian gains on the ground.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in an interview broadcast Sunday, confirmed reports that the United States has sent private warnings to Russia to steer clear of nuclear war.

"We have been very clear with the Russians publicly, and, as well as privately, to stop the loose talk about nuclear weapons," Blinken told the CBS News program "60 Minutes" in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

© France Médias Monde graphic studio

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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