Russian security forces have already arrested more than 1,000 people in the national protest called by a peace movement on Wednesday against the partial mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin in Ukraine, according to the independent organization OVD-Info, which tracks arrests. and has been declared a foreign agent in Russia.
“As of 8:40, more than 1,176 people have been detained in 38 cities,” The organization has pointed outwhich indicates that there may be more detainees in police stations, since they only publish the names of people they know “with certainty and whose names they can make public,” says OVD-Info.
The organization counts detainees in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Perm, Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yakutsk, Ulan-Ude, Arkhangelsk, Korolev, Voronezh, Zheleznogorsk, Izhevsk, Tomsk, Salavat, Tyumen, Volgograd, Petrozavodsk, Samara, Surgut, Smolensk and Belgorod, as well as other Russian towns.
International journalists like Matthew Luxmoore of The Wall Street Journal, have published some videos of those protests in cities like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. “People shout No to war!”, He has pointed out on his Twitter account, while indicating that there have been dozens of arrests.
Meanwhile, in cities like Arbat there are also hundreds of Russian citizens protesting against Putin’s decision, chanting the same chant: No to war! This was reported by the correspondent of the newspaper GuardianAndrew Roth, on his social networks, who has also assured that arrests are taking place.
The largest number of detainees is concentrated in the country’s capital, followed by Saint Petersburg. In the protests, according to the Efe agency, cries have also been heard to criticize the security forces: “The Police are the shame of Russia” or “Why are you doing this if tomorrow they are going to send you to the police station?” war in the Ukraine?” Some addressed the agents, later adding: “Die for what, for what?”.
Among the chants, proclamations such as “life for our children” have also been heard, referring to the declarations of the head of the Defense Committee of the Duma (Chamber of Deputies), Andrei Kartapolov, that the first mobilized will be reserve non-commissioned officers of less 35 years old and officers under 45 years old.
In some parts of the country, citizens who have come out to demonstrate have tried to make human chains to avoid arrests, while the police have created cordons to prevent the passage of protesters.
In Russia, protests against the war had been seen at the beginning of the invasion in Ukraine, in February and March, where thousands of arrests were made, since Russian laws harshly punish attempts to express discontent with the conflict. On March 4, the Russian Parliament approved toughening the Criminal Code to punish with up to 15 years in prison the dissemination of “false news” about its Armed Forces, so that if the media does not limit itself to the official Russian version of war, they can be penalized in the country.
The demonstrations this Wednesday in different parts of Russia take place after almost seven months of war and after Putin has announced that some 300,000 reservists will be called up. “To protect Russia, its sovereignty and integrity, I consider it necessary to support the partial mobilization proposal,” said the president in a brief speech lasting just seven minutes.
“Only citizens who are currently in the reserves will be subject to compulsory recruitment and above all those who have served in the ranks of the armed forces and have certain military professions and relevant experience.” Putin has also assured that those called up for military service will receive “additional military training” and “the status and benefits of those who serve by contract.”
Once again Putin has lashed out at the West, whom he has accused of “going too far” and alleged “nuclear blackmail”. “I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and some are more modern than those of NATO countries,” he said, later adding that if Russian integrity is threatened, Moscow will use all weapons at its disposal. range to protect her.
In that same speech, the head of the Kremlin has expressed his support for the referendums announced by the de facto authorities of Donetsk, Lugansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson to join Russia, consultations that will run from this Friday until September 27.