The shooting took place at 18:15 local time (11:15 GMT) as informed by Russia’s Investigative Committee.
Officials have reported that shots were fired during a change of guard at the military unit No. 54160 in the village of Gorny, not far from the city of Chita, in the Transbaikal region.
A constrict soldier, Private Ramil Shamsutdinov, has been detained. It is believed that detainee might have been suffering from mental health problems.
A murder investigation is under way.
The deaths involve two officers and six fellow soldiers. Two further soldiers were injured and remain in a serious condition.
According to reports from local media the soldier, who is described as a “young man”, aimed his victims’ heads before shooting wounded colleagues with what witnesses described as “controlled shots”.
It is believed that the soldier had been in service for four months. 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 army however in recent years, Russia has prided itself for modernising the military and rooting out bullying.
The incident, though serious, could have been catastrophic as the military unit No. 54160 houses an artillery brigade and a missile brigade. It has Iskander missiles, which are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
A special commission led by Deputy Defence Minister Andrey Kartapolov is flying to the region to investigate the shooting.
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