A senior Russian military officer has reportedly died after being shot five times in his office at a prestigious military academy.
Reports in Russia claim that Colonel Vadim Boyko, 44, entered his office at the Makarov Pacific Higher Naval School on Wednesday morning, after which a duty officer heard five shots and ran inside to find the dead colonel. Authorities found a Makarov pistol and shell casings next to his body, according to Russian news outlet Pravda.
Some media questioned whether the colonel had committed suicide, but the lack of a suicide note and the presence of multiple gunshots, most of them to the chest, suggest it is unlikely. Criminal investigators continue to work to determine what happened.
Boyko was involved in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s mobilization effort to recruit and reinforce military forces, and his death will have a “demoralizing” effect on troop morale, according to Russia expert Rebekah Koffler.
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“Whether it is a suicide or an assassination, the death of Colonel Boyko is almost certainly extremely demoralizing for the Russian military, especially its troops on the ground,” said Koffler, a former Russian Intelligence Agency official. Russian-born US Defense Officer and author of “Putin’s playbookhe told Fox News Digital.
“Any serving Russian military officer is now in an untenable position because they know sooner or later they’re going to be deployed to the theater, which is pretty much a death sentence, with the way this war is going, and that’s a really hard to understand. accept for soldiers and their families,” Koffler said. “That’s why dozens of Russian men of military age are fleeing the country and some are probably even getting hurt, to avoid mobilization.”
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“In the USSR, we had young men who would get a concussion to avoid serving in the military, which was mandatory,” he continued. “It was also a catch 22: you had to go fight in Afghanistan or be subjected to brutal hazing, which is very common in the Soviet and now Russian military. Very little has changed in that regard, since the collapse of the Union Soviet.”
Following a successful counteroffensive by Ukraine, Putin announced a partial mobilization of the armed forces, allowing him to begin recruiting Russian men to serve in the increasingly depleted army.
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Putin stated that conscription is “fully adequate to the threats we face, that is, to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to guarantee the security of our people and the people in the liberated territories,” but the effort it proved immensely unpopular.
Neighboring countries saw a surge in migration as Russian men fled the country to avoid conscription and fighting in Ukraine.
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Another officer, Lt. Col. Roman Malyk, 49, was found dead on a fence in the same region last month, according to the Daily Mail. Malyk was in charge of recruiting for the mobilization effort.
Investigators ruled her death likely a suicide, though her friends and family disputed that finding.