Russian police detain activists as anti-mobilisation protests erupt

Anti war protests break out across Russia

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Protesters have been detained by armed officers in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg after activists gathered to oppose Vladimir Putin’s declaration of a partial mobilisation. The Russian President declared 300,000 reserve soldiers would be mobilised to continue the invasion of Ukraine. The announcement marked a pivotal moment in the conflict as the Kremlin has been reluctant to mobilise forces, prefering to maintain the narrative of the “special military operation” in Ukraine being a limited military exercise to bring the country under Moscow’s control.

Video footage from the city of Yekaterinburg in the east of Russia captured protesters being rounded up by state police forces.

The activists, with their arms held tightly behind their backs, were swiftly marched over to waiting buses and loaded on board.

Anti-war groups have urged Russian citizens to take to the street in a string of coordinated demonstrations against Putin’s partial mobilisation decree in cities across the country.

Vesna, a Russian anti-war movement, wrote on Telegram: “The situation is extremely difficult. The war is no longer ‘out there’ – it has come to our country, our homes, for our relatives.”

OVD-Info, an independent Russian human rights monitor, confirmed there had been a number of arrests across the country following opposition to the mobilisation decree.

A statement regarding the Yekaterinburg protest read: “At least 38 people were detained at an anti-war rally against mobilisation on Labor Square.”

Further arrests were reported at demonstrations in Chelyabinsk, Izhevsk and Moscow.

In the capital city, a one-man picket close to the Kremlin television broadcast centre resulted in the arrest of protester Valdimir Saltevsky, who has been arrested before for similar activism.

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The anti-war group Vesna has condemned Kremlin leaders for the misinformation surrounding Russia’s performance throughout the invasion.

Vesna said: “The authorities used to say only ‘professionals’ were fighting and that they would win. It turned out that they were not winning and prisoners began to be recruited to the front.”

The organisation added: “The deputies and officials who screamed daily about the need for mobilisation will remain in their warm chairs alive and well.

“We believe that they should be mobilised and sent to Ukraine – let them die for their sick fantasies and not send ordinary guys to their deaths.”

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Vladimir Putin announced he had signed the Executive Order on partial mobilisation during a national address on Wednesday. The Kremlin reported the mobilisation would consist of 300,000 reserve soldiers who have previously served in the armed forces and already have military training.

President Putin declared the decision was a direct result of the NATO threat posed against Russia as he accused Western nation of “nuclear blackmail”.

The President added he would use “all the means available” to defend the “territorial integrity” of Russia.

The decree has sparked evident fear among the Russian population as demand for flights out of the country spiked. Roads towards the border have been backed up with miles of traffic as travel routes heave with citizens desperate to flee.

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