September 24, 2022

Russian police officers block a street during an illegal anti-war protest rally on Arbat Street on September 21, 2022 in Moscow, Russia.

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More than 1,300 people have been arrested in Russia after President Vladimir Putin called for additional forces to fight in Ukraine, independent human rights group OVD-Info reported.

There were about 1,307 people allegedly detained in 39 cities across the country as of Thursday morning, with the largest number of arrests in the capital Moscow (at least 527) and St. Petersburg (at least 480).

Almost 50 people were arrested in the country’s fourth-largest city, Yekaterinburg, while dozens were detained in several Siberian cities.

Prices for one-way flights from Russia rose after Putin’s announcement and pictures social media It seemed to show long lines at border crossings.

Putin gave a rare televised address on Wednesday to order the partial militarization of reservists to bolster forces in Ukraine, a deeply unpopular move that has sparked protests across the country despite tough Russian laws against criticizing the military and the war in Ukraine.

Russia has not yet declared war on Ukraine, although it invaded in February, calling its invasion a “special military operation.”

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the troop mobilization would call for 300,000 additional personnel to serve in the military campaign in Ukraine.

A female activist takes part in an illegal protest on Arbat Street on September 21, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. The sign plays on the word mobilization as “No Burial”.

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Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia he said Members of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs took “additional measures” to respond to anti-war protests and “ensure public order.”

“Complications of the operational situation have been prevented,” the Ministry’s announcement states.

“In a number of regions, an attempt was made to carry out illegal activities that gathered an extremely small number of participants. All of them were stopped, and the persons who committed the violations were taken into custody and brought to the territorial units of the police for investigation and prosecution. .”

‘Reckless’ and ‘irresponsible’

In what was widely interpreted as an escalating address, Putin warned the West that he was prepared to use all available means to protect Russian territory. His remarks were seen as a thinly veiled threat that he was ready to use nuclear weapons.

Putin has alluded to Russia’s nuclear weapons at various points during the conflict with Ukraine. Still, there are doubts whether Moscow would actually resort to deploying such weapons, and analysts say it could be tantamount to starting a third world war.

US President Joe Biden he condemned Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons and called on allied UN leaders to reject Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking at UN headquarters in New York, Biden accused the Kremlin of “reckless” and “irresponsible” threats and said “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy allegedly said Wednesday in an interview with Germany’s Bild online television channel that he did not believe the world would allow Putin to use nuclear weapons.

— CNBC’s Holly Ellyatt contributed to this report.

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