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Eight Russian Soldiers Killed By Colleague

A Russian serviceman has shot dead eight fellow soldiers and seriously injured two more on a military base in the country’s Far East, officials say.

Private Ramil Shamsutdinov – who has been detained – might have been suffering from mental health problems, they say. The shooting happened in the military unit No. 54160 in the village of Gorny, not far from the city of Chita, on Friday evening.

The shooting happened at 18:15 local time (11:15 GMT), Russia’s Investigative Committee said.

The defence ministry earlier said that shots were fired during a change of guard at the base in the Transbaikal region. Mr Shamsutdinov, a conscript, killed two officers and six fellow soldiers.

Russian media report that the suspect was targeting his victims in the head.

A special commission led by Deputy Defence Minister Andrey Kartapolov is flying to the region to investigate the shooting.

The military unit No. 54160 houses an artillery brigade and a missile brigade. It has Iskander missiles, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads. Military service is mandatory in Russia for all male citizens aged 18-27. They typically serve 12 months, and can then sign a professional contract to continue in the armed forces.

In the mid-2000s, rights groups reported widespread violence and bullying – known as “dedovshchina” – against new conscripts in the Russian armed forces. But in recent years, Russia has prided itself for modernising the military and rooting out bullying.