By Bryan MacDonald
Three soldiers have been killed and another injured after a 20-year-old Russian conscript attacked his colleagues in the city of Voronezh on Monday morning. The suspect is still at large, with an extensive manhunt underway.
The tragedy happened at the Baltimor military airfield near the city, which is 490km south of Moscow. According to preliminary reports, a service member, named as Anton Makarov by the authorities, first murdered a superior officer with an axe, following a “verbal disagreement.”
He then seized the man’s pistol and opened fire on other personnel.
The victims were Major Sergey Ermolaev, Corporal Sergey Kazhokin, and Private Ninail Aktaliev. Another Private has been hospitalized with gunshot wounds.
A local resident, Makarov was drafted into the army in the spring of this year, the TASS news agency reported. The Telegram channel Baza revealed that he had previously studied for two years to become a police officer. His teachers at the Voronezh Institute of the Ministry for Internal Affairs allegedly expressed concerns about his “quick temper” and tendency to be “aggressive.”
Another Telegram channel, Mash, claimed Makarov was raised by his grandparents after his mother emigrated to Israel.
Local media says the search for the escaped soldier is being carried out by military and civilian police, along with members of the Russian National Guard. More than 100 personnel, and well as numerous drones, are involved in the operation, the RIA Novosti news agency has reported.
There is conflicting information as to whether Makarov left the scene or remained within the airfield following the incident. Additional security has been posted to the institute he previously attended, in Voronezh city, due to fears he may turn up there, Baza added.