In Kotelniki, a town in the Moscow oblast, OMON (riot police) officers raided a mosque and took the worshippers to a military enlistment office, where they were forced to sign a contract with the Defense Ministry under threat of criminal charges, Meduza reported on October 22, citing Mamut Useinov, a finalist in a Russian singing competition television show.

“I would like to report a blatant case of violation of the law by the military enlistment office and OMON.  After Friday (October 20) prayers in a mosque located in the town of Kotelniki, OMON raided the building and took all the men leaving the building, including me,” Useinov wrote.

Meduza reports that according to him, law enforcement officers first put the men coming out of the mosque on a bus under the pretext of checking their documents.  However, after several hours of waiting, they were taken to the military enlistment office in Lyubertsy.

“There, a medical commission was organized. I was declared fit for service and transported to the contractors’ assembly point in Balashikha, on the Eastern Highway. In the evening, they announced that everyone had to sign a contract for a year, or [they would be sent to] prison.  On the morning of October 21, at the formation, I heard that we would all be sent to the SVO (special military operation),” Useinov said.

He also added that a certain colonel later met with those who refused to sign a contract and announced that they had “decided to be given the opportunity to serve under conscription”.

“I believe that this procedure violated all my rights: they forcibly took me away, I had no opportunity to appeal the decision of the army conscription commission, had no opportunity to provide information about illnesses or beliefs. And most importantly, I did not receive a summons,” Useinov concluded.

The Moscow Times says videos shared on social media over the weekend showed young men inside a moving bus, outside a military recruitment office and in a barracks with bunk beds.

According to the Mobilization news channel on the Telegram social messaging app, authorities seized the worshippers’ passports and forced them to sign military contracts without lawyers present.

Kotelniki and Lyubertsy are located on Moscow’s southeastern border and are known for high concentrations of migrants predominantly from Central Asian countries.

A wave of police raids targeting Central Asian migrant workers has swept Russia this year as authorities seek to bolster the Russian military’s manpower in Ukraine.

The round-ups appear to primarily target male migrants who recently received Russian citizenship but failed to complete their compulsory military registration.