Over 1,000 Russian protesters have been arrested after they took to the streets in response to Vladimir Putin's announcement regarding a partial military mobilization involving some 300,000 reserve soldiers for the offensive in Ukraine.
Putin had also insisted he was ready to use all means in his arsenal against the West and argued the mobilization had been recommended by the Defense Ministry to deal with the prolonged conflict in Ukraine and particularly in the separatist Donbass region.
Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu explained that additional troops were required to control the 1,000-kilometer-long contact line with Ukrainian forces and Russian-held areas. According to Shoigu, the 300,000 reservists account for merely over 1% of Russia’s full mobilization potential.
Let Putin go to the trenches, claimed the demonstrators who stayed in the country after others jammed airports, railway stations, and roads to flee the country before it was too late to avoid being sent to war.
Arrests at an anti-war protest in Moscow. Similar scenes in St. Petersburg. Reports of 190 arrests at 20 (smallish) gatherings in cities across Russia pic.twitter.com/vqTi3yglm5— Mark MacKinnon (@markmackinnon) September 21, 2022
At 18.36 there were already more than 1113 people detained in 38 cities, announced the independent organization OVD-Info, which tracks arrests and was declared a foreign agent in Russia. The organization reported detentions in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and more than twenty other cities amid arguably the largest protests since those following the announcement of the offensive in Ukraine in late February.
At least 409 people were detained in Moscow and another 444 in St. Petersburg, according to OVD-Info. Demonstrators chanted no to war amid applause and Putin to the trench. Others chanted the police are the shame of Russia.
Why are you doing this if you are going to be sent to war in Ukraine tomorrow? protesters argued against the police.
Protesters tried to create human chains to avoid arrests, while police officers made cordons to prevent the passage of protesters seeking to reach the Foreign Ministry headquarters before law enforcement began to crack down on the demonstrators.
Everyone is afraid: the story of one of the protesters against the war in Ukraine.
I don't know where we are going, this regime has signed its death warrant, it has destroyed the youth, a protester was quoted as saying.
Dozens of people have taken to the streets in the cities of Ufa, Yekaterinburg, Perm, and Chelyabinsk, in the Urals region. There the protests reportedly resulted in between 14 and 45 detentions, according to the activists. Protests were staged in the Siberian cities of Krasnoyarsk, Novosibirsk, Irkutsk, and Yakutsk as well.