Russia drafts anti-war protesters into military amid nationwide demonstrations: monitoring group
Photos and videos show police cracking down on protesters in multiple cities. with footage Several demonstrators are escorted by police and authorities at a protest in central Moscow in St. Petersburg, trying to control the crowd chanting “no mobilization” outside Isakivskyi Cathedral.
Police detained protesters in 38 Russian cities on Wednesday, according to figures released shortly after midnight by the independent monitoring group OVD-Info. Maria Kuznetsova, spokeswoman for the group, said in a phone call with CNN that some protesters arrested by riot police in at least four Moscow police stations are being drafted directly into the Russian military.
He said one of the detainees was threatened with prosecution for refusing the draft. The government says the penalty for refusing the draft is now 15 years in prison. According to OVD-Info, of the more than 1,300 people detained nationwide, more than 500 were in Moscow and more than 520 in St. Petersburg.
The decree itself does not apply only to the reserved. This allows for “calling up”. [of] Citizens of the Russian Federation for military service by joining the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.”
Putin raised the specter of nuclear weapons in his speech, saying he would use “all means at our disposal” if he deemed Russia’s “territorial integrity” threatened. He also supported referendums on joining Russia that Russian-appointed leaders in Ukraine’s four occupied territories announced would be held this week.
Footage on social media showed several protesters chanting “No war! No solidarity!” in Ulan Ude, eastern Siberia. and “Our husbands, fathers and brothers do not want to kill other husbands and fathers!”
“We want our fathers, husbands and brothers to live… and not leave their children as orphans. Stop the war and don’t take our people!” A protester.
Video from Yekaterinburg, western Russia, shows police scuffling with several protesters. CNN could not independently verify the footage from any of the cities.
Another video, posted by a journalist from Moscow internet publication The Village, shows dozens of people chanting “let him go” on Arbatskaya street as one is being led away.
Moscow’s prosecutor’s office on Wednesday also warned against distributing information urging citizens to join or participate in protests — reminding people they could face up to 15 years in prison.
In a rare joint statement, British Prime Minister Liz Truss and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday that both agreed that Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization of Russian citizens was a sign of “weakness.”
Ukraine remained defiant in the face of the announcement, with President Volodymyr Zelensky telling UNGA in a pre-recorded speech on Wednesday that Russia was “afraid of real (peace) talks” and pointing to what he characterized as Russian “lies”.
Zelensky said Russia “talks about negotiations but declares a military mobilization.” “Russia wants war.”
Katya Krebs, Uliana Pavlova, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Anastasia Graham-Yule, Sugam Pokharel, Claire Sebastian, Idris Muktar and Stephanie Halas contributed to this report.