The leader of an east Siberian city, who is also a veteran airborne trooper, has volunteered to fight in Ukraine
The mayor of the Russian city of Chita has announced his resignation, stating that he intends to sign up for military service in Ukraine as a volunteer.
“As an airborne trooper with combat experience and a citizen, I cannot stay away from the momentous fight that our homeland is fighting for its future,” Aleksandr Sapozhnikov wrote in a social media post on Monday.
Sapozhnikov has served as mayor of Chita, located around 350km southeast of Lake Baikal, since November 2019, when the local legislature elected him. Rumors that he was due to quit on Monday had been swirling in the local media since last week.
According to the official bio of the mayor, who is in his 40s, he served with the Russian airborne troops as a conscript between 1994 and 1996. During that time he fought in the North Caucasus conflict and was wounded. Later, he continued military service as a career officer, but resigned in 2009, citing health issues. He has held various public posts since 2014.
A number of Russian officials have volunteered to fight in Ukraine since the country launched a partial mobilization to bolster troop numbers. A former mayor of the southern city of Krasnodar, State Duma MP Yevgeniy Pervyshev, signed up in late October. Like Sapozhnikov, Pervyshev served as a conscript in the 1990s, and fought in Chechnya.
Former Russian space agency chief Dmitry Rogozin has become arguably the most prominent public figure to join the military since the Ukraine conflict started. The former Roscosmos chief is now leading a volunteer unit dubbed the Tsar Wolves in Donbass, providing military and technical assistance to troops.
You can share this story on social media: