Russian authorities have taken several people into custody for opposing the war in Ukraine on the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbour, rights groups and media outlets reported on Friday.
According to OVD-Info, at least eight people have been arrested in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth largest citya Russian human rights organization that tracks arrests of dissenters.
People across Russia actively protested against the war in Ukraine during the first week of the 2022 invasion. But large gatherings died down after thousands were detained.
Yet the one-person protests have continued throughout the year. Ben Hodges, a former US military commander in Europe, told DW on Friday that it is difficult to estimate how much actual support for the war there is among the Russian public.
“We’ll never know for sure…but I wouldn’t mistake a stadium full of people waving Russian flags for strong support,” Hodges said, adding that the best indicator of resistance to the war was that hundreds of thousands of Russian men had fled . the country to avoid conscription.
How many people have been arrested?
SOTA, one of Russia’s last remaining independent news outlets, filmed at least seven people detained in St. Petersburg for bringing flowers to a monument to famed Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko.
The outlet posted a video of a police officer explaining to a couple that they had violated coronavirus restrictions.
OVD-Info reported that at least nine people had been detained in St. Petersburg, Russia’s second largest city.
SOTA also reported a person detained in Moscow, where people flocked to the monument of famous Ukrainian writer Leysa Ukrainka.
Footage from the outlet showed police officers watching but not interrupting the group of people bringing flowers to the memorial.
Russia’s opposition channel Meduza also reported that a young woman was arrested for holding a sign reading “I support peace” in Korolyov, a city in the Moscow region.
The outlet reported that a Vyksa city councilor was arrested for protesting with a sign reading “Peace to Ukraine. Soldiers go home.”
Russians held solidarity protests in other cities such as Rostov-on-Don, Magnitogorsk and Vladivostok also.
DW Note: Here is our full coverage of the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine.
rm/text (AP, dpa)