A suspected Russian deserter dressed in full camouflage and a ski mask opened fire on police officers in Russia’s Rostov region on Tuesday, sparking frantic calls for residents to take cover indoors as a manhunt was underway.
The incident—just the latest evidence of Vladimir Putin’s flailing war beginning to blow up within Russian borders—occurred in Novoshakhtinsk, just 12 miles or so from the border with Ukraine.
Law enforcement sources cited by Russia’s TASS news agency and Komsomolskaya Pravda identified the gunman as a deserter, without giving further details. The disgruntled gunman was hiding out in a wooded area like Syvester Stallone’s troubled Vietnam veteran in the original Rambo movie.
Mash reported that he came from the direction of the border with Ukraine before opening fire on police officers using a machine gun.
The two officers were injured, with one of them hospitalized, according to local authorities.
Routes into and out of the city have been blocked off while security services hunt for the gunman. Residents have also been urged to remain indoors and lock their doors, local media reported.
The Russian Telegram channel Baza reported that police first noticed the man while they were conducting an investigation into a missing person nearby. As they approached him, he opened fire.
Novoshakhtinsk is home to a key border checkpoint between Ukraine’s occupied Luhansk and Rostov-na-Donu in Russia. Just over the border in Ukraine, hundreds of Russian soldiers who refused to fight have forcibly been held in basements and cold garages in recent months, according to human rights groups and family members who’ve spoken to independent Russian outlets.