MOSCOW: Seven children are among the 13 victims killed by a gunman at a school in central Russia, authoritie said.
Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement on Monday that 14 children and seven adults were also injured in the shooting in Izhevsk, west of the Ural Mountains in the Udmurtia region.
Russia’s interior ministry confirmed the shooting on its Telegram feed.
The Investigative Committee identified the gunman as 34-year-old Artyom Kazantsev, a graduate of the same school.
The gunman wore a black t-shirt with “Nazi symbols”, the Committee added.
“Any shooting at a school is a cause for deep concern for authorities, families and the nation in general. We have seen that in the United States and many other countries,” said journalist Mohamed Vall, reporting from Moscow “but Russians are saying this is not a frequent occurrence in Russia and most of the time it is difficult to establish the motives behind it.”
Russia’s National Guard said Kazantsev used two non-lethal handguns adapted to fire real bullets. The guns were not registered with the authorities. A criminal probe into the incident has been launched on charges of multiple murder and illegal possession of firearms.
The school, which teaches children aged six to 17, was evacuated and the area around it has been cordoned off.
The attack comes at a critical time for Russia, which is waging a deadly war in Ukraine and has recently announced a partial mobilisation order to boost its forces.
Hours before the school shooting, a man opened fire and wounded a military recruitment officer at an enlistment centre in Siberia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday denounced the Izhevsk attack as “inhuman”.
“President Putin deeply mourns the deaths of people, children, at a school where there was a terrorist attack by a person, who apparently belongs to a neo-fascist group,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.
“The president wishes for the recovery of those injured as a result of this inhuman terrorist attack,” Peskov added.
The last such tragedy took place in April 2022, when a man killed two children and a teacher at a kindergarten in the central Ulyanovsk region before killing himself.
In May 2021, nine people including seven children were killed after a lone teenage gunman opened fire in Russia’s southwestern city of Kazan.
In 2018, a student at a college in Russian-annexed Crimea killed 20 people before turning his gun on himself.
Other high-profile shooting cases have taken place in Russia’s army, putting the issue of hazing in the spotlight in the country where military service is compulsory for men aged between 18 and 27.
In November 2020, a 20-year-old soldier killed three fellow servicemen at a military base near the city of Voronezh. In a similar attack in 2019, a young recruit shot dead eight servicemen, saying he faced bullying and harassment in the army. (Int’l News Desk)