Hundreds arrested as Russian’s protest Putin’s mobilisation order


Despite Russia’s harsh laws against criticising the military and the war, more than 800 people were arrested in protests in 37 Russian cities, including Moscow and St Petersburg, according to the independent Russian human rights group OVD-Info.

An Associated Press crew in Moscow witnessed at least a dozen arrests in the first 15 minutes of a protest in the capital.

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A demonstrator jumps on a police officer to prevent his friend from being detained during a protest against mobilisation in Moscow. (AP)

Asked whether protesting would help, one Muscovite who declined to give their name said: “It won’t help, but it’s my civic duty to express my stance. No to war!”

“Thousands of Russian men — our fathers, brothers and husbands — will be thrown into the meat grinder of the war. What will they be dying for? What will mothers and children be crying for?” the Vesna opposition movement said, calling for protests.

As protest calls circulated online, the Moscow prosecutor’s office warned that organising or participating in such actions could lead to up to 15 years in prison.

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Up to 800 people have been arrested in protests around the country. (AP)

Authorities issued similar warnings ahead of other protests recently. Wednesday’s were the first nationwide antiwar protests since the war began in late February.

The state communication watchdog Roskomnadzor also warned media that access to their websites would be blocked for transmitting “false information” about the mobilisation.

It was unclear exactly what that meant.

Putin’s mobilisation gambit has a strong element of risk. It could backfire by making the war unpopular at home and hurting his own standing. It also concedes Russia’s underlying military shortcomings.

A Ukraine counteroffensive this month seized the military initiative from Russia and captured large areas in Ukraine that the Russians once held.

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Russia has strong laws against criticising the invasion of Ukraine. (AP)

In a statement to The Associated Press, Ukrainian presidential spokesman Sergii Nikiforov said conscripts sent to Ukraine would face the same fate as ill-prepared Russian forces who unsuccessfully tried to take Kyiv early in the war.

“This is a recognition of the incapacity of the Russian professional army, which has failed in all its tasks,” Nikiforov said.

The Russian mobilisation is unlikely to produce any consequences on the battlefield for months because of a lack of training facilities and equipment.

Russian political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said it seemed “an act of desperation.”

He predicted that Russians will resist the mobilization through “passive sabotage.”

“People will evade this mobilization in every possible way, bribe their way out of this mobilization, leave the country,” Oreshkin told the AP.

He described the announcement as “a huge personal blow to Russian citizens, who until recently (took part in the hostilities) with pleasure, sitting on their couches, (watching) TV. And now the war has come into their home.”

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Ukrainian soldiers embrace as Russians retreat

Read the full article at: 9news.com.au


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