Russia sends anti-war protesters into army amid nationwide protests: monitoring group


More than 1,300 people were arrested across Russia on Wednesday for taking part in nationwide anti-war protests – with some directly enlisting in the army, according to a monitoring group, after leader Vladimir Putin announced Father “partial mobilization“Citizen’s for hesitate to invade of the Ukraine.

Photos and videos show police cracking down on protesters in multiple cities, with footage shows some protesters at a rally in central Moscow being carried away by police and authorities in St.Petersburg to stop a crowd chanting “no movement” outside Isakiivskiy Cathedral.

Police arrested protesters across 38 cities in Russia on Wednesday, according to figures released shortly after midnight by independent monitoring group OVD-Info. Group spokeswoman Maria Kuznetsova said in a phone call with CNN that at least four police stations in Moscow, some of the protesters detained by riot police, are being transferred directly to the Russian military.

One of the detainees was threatened with prosecution for refusing to enlist, she said. The government has said that the penalty for rejecting the draft is now 15 years in prison. Of the more than 1,300 people detained nationwide, more than 500 are in Moscow and more than 520 in St.Petersburg, according to OVD-Info.

The protests followed a speech by Putin in the morning in which he laid out a plan to enhance his war’s advantage in Ukraine, including over the Russian people, at the time. that one sudden counterattack from Kyiv recaptured thousands of square miles of territory and put Moscow on the back foot. Experts say its force has significantly exhausted.

Announced “Partial Mobilization” will see 300,000 people pre-ordered was called up, according to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Mr Putin said those with military experience would be bound and stressed that the decree – which was signed – was necessary to “defend our homeland, our sovereignty and territorial integrity”. it.”

The ordinance itself doesn’t just apply to those who book in advance. It allows “calling up” [of] citizens of the Russian Federation performing military service in the form of conscription into the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation. ”

In his speech, Putin raised the specter of nuclear weapons, saying he would use “all means at our disposal” if he considers Russia’s “territorial integrity” threatened. threaten. He also endorsed the referendums on participation with Russia that the Russian-appointed leaders of the four occupied regions of Ukraine vowed to hold this week.

The concerns of Russian nationals were clearly assessed on Wednesday, with travel agency websites showing a demand for flights increased significantly to places the Russians don’t need passport. Flight sites say direct flights to such countries are sold out at least through Friday.

Riot police detain a protester during an anti-war rally in Moscow, Russia September 21.

The protests, most of which appear to have attracted several dozen people, are another strong signal of the desperation of some. Dissent is usually quickly quelled in Russia and the authorities have put more restrictions on freedom of speech after the invasion of Ukraine.

Footage from social media showed some protesters in Ulan Ude in eastern Siberia carrying signs reading “Do not join the war! Not mobilized! ” and “Our husbands and fathers and brothers do not want to kill other husbands and fathers!”

“We want our fathers, husbands and brothers to stay alive… and not let their children become orphans. Stop the war and don’t take our people! ‘ said one protester.

Video from Yekaterinburg in western Russia shows police scuttling some protesters. CNN was unable to independently verify footage from either city.

Another video posted by a journalist from the Moscow internet publication The Village shows dozens of people on the streets of Arbatskaya chanting “Let him go” as a man is carried away.

The Moscow prosecutor’s office on Wednesday also warned citizens against participating in protests or spreading information calling for participation – reminding people that they could face up to 15 years in prison.

Putin’s “partially mobilized” statement was condemned by Western leaders, many of whom were meeting at the opening ceremony. UN General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

In a rare joint statement, British Prime Minister Liz Truss and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, said on Wednesday that they both agreed that Putin’s announcement that the partial mobilization of Russian citizens was a sign of Russian citizenship. sign of “weakness”.

Ukraine remains defiant in the face of this announcement, as President Volodymyr Zelensky told UNGA in a pre-recorded speech on Wednesday that Russia is “afraid of real (peaceful) negotiations” and pointed out that which he called Russia “a lie”.

Russia “talks about talks but announces military deployment,” Zelensky said. “Russia wants war.”

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