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TOPIC: Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests

Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851523

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www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62981293

Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests
BBC News
3 hours ago

Video here Watch: Footage of arrests at Moscow anti-war rally

Russian police are reported to have arrested hundreds of protesters rallying against the Kremlin's decision to call up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine.

Russian human rights group OVD-Info put the total at more than 1,000. The largest numbers arrested were in St Petersburg and Moscow.

Dozens were held in Irkutsk and other Siberian cities, and Yekaterinburg.

Flights out of Russia sold out fast after Vladimir Putin's announcement.

Russia's president ordered a partial mobilisation, meaning some 300,000 military reservists - but not conscripts - will be drafted to bolster Russia's forces who have suffered recent battlefield reverses in Ukraine.

The move came a day after occupied areas of Ukraine announced snap referendums on joining Russia.

And in remarks condemned by Ukraine and its allies, Mr Putin stressed that he would use "all available means" to protect Russian territory - implying this could involve nuclear weapons.
Tough warnings to protesters

Photo here
Scuffles broke out in Moscow as police made arrests

The Moscow prosecutor's office on Wednesday warned that calls on the internet to join unauthorised street protests, or participation in them, could incur up to 15 years in jail. They could be prosecuted under laws against discrediting the armed forces, spreading "fake news" about Russia's military operation in Ukraine, or encouraging minors to protest.

Russia's tough penalties for spreading "disinformation" about the Ukraine war and police harassment of anti-Putin activists have made public anti-war protests rare.

But the anti-war opposition group Vesna called for widespread protests, and on Telegram it reported many arrests across Russia. A video clip from Yekaterinburg showed police violently bundling protesters into a bus.

Vesna called its action "no to mogilisation" - a play on words, because "mogila" in Russian means grave.

Pavel Chikov, a lawyer for the Russian human rights group Agora, said Agora had received 6,000 inquiries to its hotline since Tuesday morning, from Russians wanting information about soldiers' rights.

Meanwhile, flights to popular destinations such as Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia were snapped up, and prices for remaining seats skyrocketed.

The price for flights from Moscow to Istanbul or Dubai reached as high as 9,200 euros ($9,119) for a one-way economy class fare following Mr Putin's announcement, the Associated Press reported.
'Absolutely everyone is afraid'

PHOTO HERE
On Telegram opposition group Vesna called for anti-war rallies

The Kremlin's mobilisation move follows heavy losses in Ukraine, where Kyiv's forces have recaptured a huge area east of Kharkiv.

President Putin's control of the state media has ensured that many Russians support his claim that Ukraine's "neo-Nazi" government and Nato threaten Russia, and that ethnic Russians in Ukraine have to be defended. In reality Ukraine's government was democratically elected and has no far right politicians.

Putin raises stakes in deadly game
What does Russia's troop call-up mean for Ukraine?

The scale of Russian opposition to the Kremlin line on Ukraine is hard to gauge, as media restrictions are so tight.

In Russia, pro-Putin regional governors, who now have to organise the mobilisation, voiced support for it.

"We won't be weakened, divided or exterminated," said Ulyanovsk governor Alexei Russkikh. "Our region, like all the others in our country, has a duty to mobilise citizens for military service."

Chelyabinsk governor Alexei Teksler said the mobilisation was needed to ensure Russia's "sovereignty, security and territorial integrity".

But young Russian men have told the BBC of their fears about the call-up.

Matvey in St Petersburg said "I was hoping it would never happen". "Now it's obvious that Putin won't step back and he's going to continue his stupid fight to the last Russian citizen." He said "I shouldn't be recruited during this step of mobilisation, but there are no guarantees that things won't get worse".

Evgeny, a 31-year-old Russian living in the UK, told the BBC: "Absolutely everyone is afraid, everyone is sending around different information on mobilisation. It is very difficult to figure out what is true and what isn't. Nobody trusts the government."

More on this story on same BBC news webpage
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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851528

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www.reuters.com/world/

Flights out of Russia sell out after Putin orders partial call-up, article with image
Europe · September 21, 2022 · 6:47 PM GMT+1

One-way flights out of Russia were rocketing in price and selling out fast on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists.


PHOTO HERE
A man looks at a flight information board at the departure zone of Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow

A man looks at a flight information board at the departure zone of Vnukovo International Airport in Moscow, Russia December 30, 2020. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

GDANSK, Sept 21 (Reuters) - One-way flights out of Russia were rocketing in price and selling out fast on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists.

Putin's announcement, made in an early-morning television address, raised fears that some men of fighting age would not be allowed to leave the country.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said the call-up would be limited to those with experience as professional soldiers, and that students and conscripts would not be called up

Putin announces partial mobilisation
Warns West over 'nuclear blackmail'
Says Russia will use all means to defend itself
This is not a bluff, says Putin
Russia moves to annex swathes of Ukrainian territory

LONDON, Sept 21 (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia's first mobilisation since World War Two and backed a plan to annex swathes of Ukraine, warning the West he was not bluffing when he said he'd be ready to use nuclear weapons to defend Russia.

In the biggest escalation of the Ukraine war since Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion, Putin explicitly raised the spectre of a nuclear conflict, approved a plan to annex a chunk of Ukraine the size of Hungary, and called up 300,000 reservists.

"If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without doubt use all available means to protect Russia and our people - this is not a bluff," Putin said in a televised address to the nation.


More to read about this on the Reuters news webpage
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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851534

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If it goes on for some years, Putin may end up feeling like Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon. Who would have thought that a Russian version of 1960s style war protesters would appear, and a military call up would send people fleeing the country.

'“No war!” people chanted in the Old Arbat, a famous street in Moscow. “Life for our children!” they shouted in St. Petersburg, along with the more provocative “Putin in the trenches!” The president’s ukase (edict) has been met with chaos and confusion in the streets. Authorities even have difficulty distinguishing the war objectors from the proponents. One man wearing a Russian Army sweatshirt in Yekaterinburg declared, "I am leaving for war tomorrow. ... I am for Russia,” before he too was hauled away by the authorities, presumably because they mistook him for an antiwar demonstrator.

In the past several hours, flights out of Moscow have skyrocketed in price, with some carriers charging as much as $16,000 a ticket to travel to Dubai. And that’s on one of the few flights still available: All planes to visa-free countries were completely sold out, according to the Russian news portal RBC.'
www.yahoo.com/news/putin-russia-partial-...tests-195109346.html
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“Out of the crooked timber of humanity, no straight thing was ever made.” - Immanuel Kant

Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851661

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One reason might be because they are being asked to kill their own people. War usually means fighting foreigners, not your own countrymen.

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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851713

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They are not their own countrymen and their language is different.

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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851793

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www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-62992365
2 hours ago

Ukraine war: 'I will break my arm, my leg... anything to avoid the draft'

Some of the anti-war protesters who took to the streets on Wednesday were handed military draft papers

For many Russian men the Kremlin's decision to call up 300,000 military reservists for the war in Ukraine came as a shock.

In the big cities, Russia's seven-month war on its neighbour has always seemed a long way away. But as soon as President Vladimir Putin's address was over, it hit home. Being sent into combat was closer than anyone could have imagined.

Office messaging chats exploded with anxious discussions of what would happen next. Plans were made on how to avoid being sent to the front line.

"It was like a sci-fi movie from the 1980s. A bit scary to be honest with you," says Dmitry, 28, who works in an office in St Petersburg. Staff could not start their working day, glued to the speech on their TV, computer and mobile phone screens.

He excused himself from the office after lunch and went to exchange roubles for dollars at a nearby bank.

Dmitry moved house after he was paid a police visit for taking part in an anti-war rally - believing it would be harder for authorities to find him.

"I am not certain what to do next: jump on the next plane abroad or stay in Russia a bit longer and get chased by the cops at a couple of anti-war rallies."

Sergei - not his real name - has already been called up.

A 26-year-old PhD student and lecturer at a prominent Russian university, he was expecting a delivery of groceries the night before the Putin address when the doorbell rang. Instead, he was faced with two men in civilian clothes who handed him military papers and asked him to sign.

The BBC has a copy of these documents, asking him to attend a draft centre on Thursday.
.

Video and pictures on website

Sergey, a PhD student with no combat experience, was handed military papers after Putin announced a partial mobilisation

The Kremlin said only people who had done their military service and had special skills and combat experience would be called up. But Sergei has no military experience and his stepfather is worried, as dodging the draft is a criminal offence in Russia.

The stepfather works in a state oil company and hours later he was asked to provide a list of staff who had a legal exemption from military service.

Most Russian men do not, so many have been seeking ways to avoid the call-up.

In Moscow, Vyacheslav says he and his friends started looking for medical connections to help.

"Mental health or treatment for drug addiction look like good, cheap or perhaps even free options," he said.

"If you are stoned and get arrested while driving, hopefully you will get your licence taken away and will have to undergo treatment. You can't be certain but hopefully this will be enough to avoid being taken [into the army]."

His brother-in-law narrowly avoided the draft because he was not at home when officials came calling. His mother saw the documents, which demanded he report for duty between 19 and 23 September.

"He has now locked himself in one room and refuses to come out," says Vyacheslav. "He has two tiny kids aged three and one: what is he supposed to do?"

Another man, from Kaliningrad, told the BBC he would do anything to avoid being drafted: "I will break my arm, my leg, I will go to prison, anything to avoid this whole thing."

Thousands of Russians attended anti-war protests in cities across Russia on Wednesday night. Many said they were handed call-up papers either in the street or later in police detention.

Human rights organisation OVD-Info listed up to 10 police stations in Moscow alone where protesters were given their papers. At least one man in Moscow's Vernadsky district refused to sign and was threatened with a criminal case.

One woman told the independent Mediazona website that her husband was detained at an anti-war protest in Arbat in central Moscow. He was taken to a police station, handed call-up papers and signed them as he was being videoed by the police. He was told to turn up to be drafted on Thursday.

Mikhail, 25, had left Russia for neighbouring Georgia at the start of the war and only returned to his small hometown in the Urals for a few days. He had planned to go back but is now worried by President Putin's nuclear weapons threat and will stay in Russia, close to his family.

"We're in a state of panic. In my town many have already received call-up papers but I am not registered to live here so won't get them."

He had recently secured a good job in Tbilisi but now sees it as pointless because of Vladimir Putin's military escalation.

"On 21 September, he managed to destroy even the mess he first made on 24 February [the start of the invasion]," Mikhail said. "I've stopped caring completely, I only live for today."


Video here Watch: Sped-up footage appears to show large queues at the Russia-Georgia border

Watch: Footage of arrests at Moscow anti-war rally

Russian police are reported to have arrested hundreds of protesters rallying against the Kremlin's decision to call up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine.

Russian human rights group OVD-Info put the total at more than 1,300. The largest numbers arrested were in St Petersburg and Moscow.

Dozens were held in Irkutsk and other Siberian cities, and Yekaterinburg.

Flights out of Russia sold out fast after Vladimir Putin's announcement.

Pictures on social media showed long queues at border posts, and on Google, the search for "how to leave Russia" skyrocketed.

Russia's president ordered a partial mobilisation, meaning some 300,000 military reservists - but not conscripts - will be drafted to bolster Russia's forces who have suffered recent battlefield reverses in Ukraine.

The move came a day after occupied areas of Ukraine announced snap referendums on joining Russia.

And in remarks condemned by Ukraine and its allies, Mr Putin stressed that he would use "all available means" to protect Russian territory - implying this could involve nuclear weapons.
line



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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 3 days ago #3851854

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Those anti war protesters mean business.

I had a friend that got his physical notice for the draft. He was not going to go into the Army. He took a .22 and shot himself in the foot. Doctor wrote a letter stating he could not go to physical, and he lived happily ever after.

Sort of like fake bone spurs, the previous president, except he didn't have bone spurs. My friend has the scar.

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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 2 days ago #3852058

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Meanwhile from what I heard and saw on the national news, lots of men are at the borders trying to leave before they can be called up .
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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 2 days ago #3852250

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[/b] www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63005406

Ukraine war: Russia reveals exemptions as men flee call-up........6 hours ago
Russia's defence ministry has revealed a host of occupations it says will be exempted from conscription aimed at boosting its war effort in Ukraine.

IT workers, bankers and journalists working for state media will escape the "partial mobilisation" announced by President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday.

Around 300,000 citizens face being called up as part of the drive.

The move has prompted a rush towards borders as young men attempt to flee to evade the draft.

Announcing the exemptions on Friday, Russia defence ministry said employers must compile a list of workers who meet the criteria and submit it to its offices.

But it accepted some sectors had to be excluded to "ensure the work of specific high-tech industries, as well as Russia's financial system".

Some commentators have observed that the text of the mobilisation decree has been left vague - potentially allowing it to be widened if necessary.

And one paragraph remains entirely classified. Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Friday this referred to the total number of Russians who could be conscripted, which he said could not be disclosed.

Earlier, the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta had reported - citing an unnamed government source - that the redacted section allowed for a call-up of up to a million people, rather than the reported 300,000.

Others have cast doubt on the truth of the Kremlin's pledges to limit the draft. Just two weeks ago Mr Peskov told reporters that there had been "no discussion" of mobilisation by Russian leaders.

And across the country, reports have been emerging of Russian men who do not meet the criteria being called up by local recruiting officers.

The Russian daily newspaper Kommersant reported that men previously exempted from service for health reasons had been called up by the local commander in the Siberian region of Irkutsk.

Elsewhere, Russian men are continuing to try to flee the country to avoid being called up by recruiters for the country's first military mobilisation since World War Two.

In the south, miles-long queues of traffic have formed at the border crossing between Russia and Georgia.

Some of those heading into the neighbouring country have used bicycles to bypass lines of cars and evade a ban on crossing on foot, with others reporting waits of up to 12 hours.


When asked about the war, one man who did not wish to be named told the BBC he had known it was happening but that, until Mr Putin's declaration of a "partial mobilisation", it had not been his concern.

A Russian student, who also did not want to be identified, said that people had woken up. "They opened their eyes and started thinking about where to hide their children. Now people understand what's happening because it affects them directly," he said.

Another IT worker told the BBC that he was opposed to the war, but was too scared to speak out against it.

"I don't want to risk my life, the life of my family. I don't want to be put in detention," he said. "All I could do was to get Schengen visa. Luckily I got one in May."

Georgia is one of the few neighbouring countries that Russians can enter without needing to apply for a visa. Border guards in neighbouring Finland, which shares a 1,300km (800 mile) border with Russia but requires an entry visa, told the BBC that queues had grown at various crossing points.

"'What's happening in Russia now is total fear'"
"I will break my arm, my leg... anything to avoid the draft"
What does Russian military call-up mean for Ukraine?

Other destinations reachable by air - such as Istanbul, Belgrade or Dubai - saw ticket prices skyrocket immediately after the military call-up was announced, with some destinations sold out completely.

Turkish media have reported a large spike in one-way ticket sales, while remaining flights to non-visa destinations can cost thousands of euros.

Several countries are grappling with the prospect of an influx of Russian draft avoiders. Germany's interior minister signalled on Thursday that those fleeing conscription would be welcome in her country.

Nancy Faeser said deserters threatened by "severe repression" would receive protection on a case-by-case basis, following security checks.

But several other European countries, including Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Czech Republic, struck a different tone, saying they would not offer fleeing Russians refuge. The countries have long pushed the EU to take a harder line on Russia.

"I understand that Russians are fleeing from ever more desperate decisions by Putin," Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky said. "But those running because they don't want to fulfil a duty imposed by their own government, they don't meet the criteria for humanitarian visa."

The call-up sparked protests in major Russian cities including Moscow and St Petersburg on Tuesday, resulting in a reported 1,300 arrests.

There were also reports from Russia that some of those detained for protesting had been handed draft papers while in custody at police stations. When asked about the reports, Mr Peskov said that doing so was not against the law.
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Ukraine conflict: Russia arrests hundreds at anti-war protests 1 week 2 days ago #3852252

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www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-63013356

] Ukraine 'referendums': Soldiers go door-to-door for votes in polls ........49 minutes ago.
Ukrainians have reported armed soldiers going door-to-door in occupied parts of the country to collect votes for self-styled "referendums" on joining Russia.

"You have to answer verbally and the soldier marks the answer on the sheet and keeps it," one woman in Enerhodar told the BBC.

In southern Kherson, Russian guardsmen stood with a ballot box in the middle of the city to collect people's votes.

The door-to-door voting is for "security", Russian state media says.

"In-person voting will take place exclusively on 27 September," Tass reported. "On the other days, voting will be organised in communities and in a door-to-door manner."

One woman in Melitopol told the BBC that two local "collaborators" arrived with two Russian soldiers at her parents' flat, to give them a ballot to sign.

"My dad put 'no' [to joining Russia]," the woman said. "My mum stood nearby, and asked what would happen for putting 'no'. They said, 'Nothing'.

"Mum is now worried that the Russians will persecute them."

The woman also said there was one ballot for the entire household, rather than per person.

Although the evidence is anecdotal, the presence of armed men conducting the vote contradicts Moscow's insistence that this is a free or fair process.

What Russia wants from the votes in occupied Ukraine

Experts say the self-styled referendums, taking place across five days, will allow Russia to claim - illegally - four occupied or partially-occupied regions of Ukraine as their own.

In other words, a false vote on annexation, seven months into Russia's invasion.

The "annexation" would not be recognised internationally, but could lead to Russia claiming that its territory is under attack from Western weapons supplied to Ukraine, which could escalate the war further.

British Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, said the UK had evidence that Russian officials had already set targets for "invented voter turnouts and approval rates for these sham referenda".

Mr Cleverly said Russia planned to formalise the annexation of the four regions - Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia - by the end of the month.

A source in Kherson told the BBC there was no public effort to encourage voting, apart from an announcement on the Russian news agency that people can vote at a port building, which had been disused for 10 years.

Another woman in Kherson said she saw "armed militants" outside the building where the vote seemed to be taking place. She pretended to forget her passport, so she didn't have to vote.

The woman said all her friends and family were against the referendum. "We don't know how our life will be after this referendum," she said. "It is very difficult to understand what they want to do."

Kyiv says the referendums will change nothing, and its forces will continue to push to liberate all of the territories.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent mobilisation of at least 300,000 extra troops has caused many Russian men of fighting age to flee.

One young Russian man who left St Petersburg for Kazakhstan to avoid the draft told BBC World Service's Outside Source programme that that most of his friends were also on the move.

"Right now, I feel like it's a total collapse. I know only maybe one or two folks that don't think about exile right now," he said.

He said some, like him, are travelling across the border, whereas others have gone to small Russian villages to hide.

"The big problem of Russia is that we didn't think about the war in Ukraine in February as we think about it right now," he said.

Additional reporting by Hanna Chornous and Daria Sipigina in Ukraine

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