Russian President Vladimir Putin fired several shots from a sniper rifle on Oct. 20 while visiting a training center for troops recently drafted for his invasion of Ukraine, Agence France Presse reported.
Video published by Russian state media shows a black-clad Putin donning ear protection before squeezing off two rounds from a Russian SVD sniper rifle from a prone position. He then brushes himself off and pats a military man on the arm.
Putin was also filmed talking with officers, shaking their hands and wishing them “good luck,” according to Agence France Presse. He also saw fire drills and engineering and medical trainings.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reportedly updated Putin on the training of more than 200,000 men recently drafted into service in what Putin called a “partial mobilization.”
Putin recently told state media that the draft, intended to help Russia’s army reverse a recent series of setbacks in Ukraine, “will be completed within about two weeks,” according to state-run outlet TASS. About 222,000 men of the targeted 300,000 have been conscripted, he said.
Putin’s training center visit was the first of its kind since he announced the draft on Sept. 21, Agence France Presse reported.
A top Ukrainian official recently told CNN the conscripts will help fulfill Russia’s “task number one”: holding its gains in southern Ukraine, which protect the strategically important Crimean peninsula.
“For Putin’s regime, the south direction … has strategic meaning from the point of view of preserving the land corridor to Crimea and water supply to the peninsula, as well as creating a future bridgehead for the capture of Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, depriving Ukraine of the status of a maritime state,” said Oleksii Hromov, a top Ukrainian military official.
Putin recently declared martial law in the southern territories of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia and two other regions of Ukraine he recently claimed to annex.