Hundreds arrested over Moscow anti-war protests


Hundreds of protestors have been detained in Moscow after taking to the streets to condemn the use of force against Ukraine, a Western-funded NGO has claimed.

On Sunday, citizens gathered in the heart of the Russian capital to denounce the military assault. According to the media outlet Dozhd (labeled as a foreign agent due to its links to overseas funding), its cameraman, Andrey Karasev, was arrested despite displaying his press credentials. 

A member of the police alleged he was detained for interfering in a law enforcement officer’s work.

OVD-Info (which has also been designated as a foreign agent in Russia) has estimated that 1,269 people were arrested in Moscow. Meanwhile, across the country, around 2,800 people were detained in 53 cities on February 27 alone.

The wave of rallies in Russia comes after President Vladimir Putin ordered an attack on Ukraine last Thursday. It came just hours after the leaders of the recently recognized Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics formally appealed to the Kremlin for assistance in relation to what they claimed was an uptick in “aggression” from Kiev.

Putin has insisted that there are no plans to “occupy” the former Soviet republic, claiming the operation is designed to “demilitarize” and rid the country of “Nazi” elements. Shortly after the Russian president’s televised address, a series of explosions struck strategic military installations and airfields in Ukraine.

Kiev’s top diplomat, Dmitry Kuleba, said that “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine,” adding that “peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression.”

Many Russians have come out to decry the move, despite the prospect of arrest, including in Putin’s hometown of Saint Petersburg.

On Thursday, the Russian Interior Ministry reported that the capital’s police force had detained 600 citizens for participating in an unauthorized rally. The Federal Investigative Committee also issued a warning to “unpermitted” anti-war protestors.

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