1,300 detained in anti-war demonstrations throughout Russia: rights group

Russian President Vladimir Putin
Gavriil Grigorov/Sputnik, Kremlin pool photo via AP
Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Novgorod Region Governor Andrei Nikitin during his vitit to celebrate the 1160th anniversary of Russian statehood in Veliky Novgorod, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. Veliky Novgorod is one of the oldest cities in Russia, being first mentioned in the 9th century. (Gavriil Grigorov, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

More than 1,300 Russians were detained in 40 cities during protests on Wednesday opposing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of a partial call-up of the country’s military.

Independent human rights organization OVD-Info published a list of the detainees that shows at least 537 of them arrested in Moscow, the country’s capital.

Russian authorities detained an additional 479 demonstrators in St. Petersburg, with dozens more detained in cities like Yekaterinburg, Permian and Chelyabinsk, according to the group.

Putin made the mobilization announcement in an address to the nation on Wednesday, with the Kremlin saying up to 300,000 soldiers could be drafted.

“When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we, of course, will use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” Putin said in his translated remarks. 

Thousands of Russians attempted to flee the country, with international flights quickly selling out or skyrocketing in price. Others traveled by car to Russia’s borders, where some were turned away.

Putin’s call-up of reservists comes after Ukrainian forces began a counteroffensive, reclaiming thousands of square kilometers of territory in the eastern part of the country that Russia had held after it invaded in February.

The mobilization decision could be a make-or-break stage for Putin as he faces rare criticism from some state television personalities and municipal officials for the Russian military’s recent losses. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, meanwhile, addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday and called for the creation of a special tribunal to punish Russia for invading Ukraine.

“Ukraine demands punishment for trying to steal our territory,” Zelensky said. “Punishment for the murders of thousands of people. Punishment for tortures and humiliations of women and men.”

As Ukrainians assessed reclaimed territory, officials said mass burial sites and torture chambers were discovered.

Tags russia Russia-Ukraine war Russian prisoners ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Volodymyr Zelensky
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