Russian police arrest nearly 400 protestors against war in several Russian cities


Files from CBC’s Briar Steward and Corinne Seminoff, Rostov-on Don, Russia

Russian police detained at least 389 people at anti-war protests that took place in 39 Russian cities in the wake of Thursday’s early-morning attack on Ukraine, the OVD-Info protest monitor said.

For years, the OVD Info monitor documented Russian opposition crackdowns. 

Moscow-based opposition activist, Marina Litvinovich, was one of the people detained after she called for anti-war protests in the country.

“I was detained on my way out of the house,” Litvinovich wrote on Telegram.

In a separate message, she confirmed her detention to Reuters.

An officer in police custody detains a man holding a sign saying “No war” during the protest against Ukraine’s invasion. Many hundreds of protestors gathered at the center of the city against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (Denis Kaminev/The Associated Press

On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin stated that he could not choose but to direct what he called a “special operation” against Ukraine. He said all previous efforts by Moscow to alter the security situation were futile.

Protests against the invasion also took place in cities around the world, including in the U.S., Germany, Italy, Turkey, Greece, Israel and elsewhere.

Ukrainians living in Rome demonstrate near the Russian Embassy. All over the world, there were protests against the invasion on Thursday. (Alessandra Torantino/The Associated Press).

In Berlin, protestors demonstrate against Russia and Russian President Putin. (Markus Schreiber/The Associated Press

Rostov-on Don, some people tell CBC that they are in support of Putin’s actions

In Rostov-on-Don, about 120 kilometres from Russia’s border with Ukraine, some residents told CBC they were supportive of Putin’s decision to invade while others were hesitant to weigh in at all.

The city of more than a million people is one of the staging grounds where Russian troops amassed in lead-up to Thursday’s attack and is one of the areas to which civilians from Donetsk, one of the two breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine, were evacuated ahead of the invasion.

A war between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk, the other separatist-controlled region, has been going on since 2014 and has claimed around 14,000 lives, according to Ukrainian government estimates.

The Donbas area in eastern Ukraine has been divided into two territories: one controlled by the government (in yellow) and another held by Russia-supported separatists (in orange). Both sides are fighting since 2014. (CBC)

Rostov-on-Don resident Natalia Mickiewicz (56) sees invading as necessary to control the conflict.

“Рeople have been suffering there for eight years,” she said. There are many family members there. Imagine — children who are eight years old now were born under the bombing and went to school under the bombing. This should not have happened. I am very sorry for the people and the fact that a lot of time has been lost and the infrastructure has been destroyed.”

She stated that she supports Putin’s decision with her friends and associates.

Putin is a diplomat, she commented. He explains every detail. Do you remember ever hearing an American president describe something to someone prior to bombing them? But he explained everything, even to the Ukrainian side. “He said that he would never bomb civilians.”

Two young couples from Donetsk (the territory under the control of a pro-Russian separatist government in Eastern Ukraine) fill out documents after they evacuate to Rostov-on-Don, just near the border with Ukraine on Sunday ahead of the invasion. (The Associated Press).

Mickiewicz said Russians have no enmity toward Ukrainians.

She said that Ukrainens do not have to fear Russia. “We used to live with each other. We were like brothers and sisters … and we were torn apart from each other. We are now rejoicing in the fact that capitalist countries have divided our lives. But we are the closest people — Belarus, Ukraine, we have a lot of relatives both there and here. My heart aches for everybody.”

Rostov-on Don resident Another didn’t want talk to CBC Thursday about the invasion.

Roman, 36 years old, said that he didn’t have enough time to contemplate the situation. I’m working,” said 36-year-old Roman, who did not want to give his last name. “I don’t have an opinion.” “The people who are in power will make it happen.”

Russian armored vehicles were loaded onto rail platforms Wednesday at Rostov-on-Don railway station. (The Associated Press).

According to his statement, he had spoken with family members from Ukraine on Thursday.

He said that he has relatives in Ukraine and treats them as normal. Politics is the only thing that can happen. People, whether they are friends or family, do not feel any hostilities towards one another. The attitude of Ukrainians to Russians will not change.”

CBC correspondents cover the conflict from both sides:| CBC correspondents report from two sides of the conflict:

CBC News reports from Russia and Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is underway. Margaret Evans, CBC, reports from Kyiv. Briar Stewart, meanwhile, details Russia’s situation from Rostov. 9:17

Putin seeks to calm business fears

In Russia, Putin tried to reassure the business community in the face of broad, punishing sanctions announced by the G7 countries.

Putin, head of Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs told Alexander Shokhin that Moscow had been made to act and was aware that sanctions were coming.

Putin declared, “We all have a good understanding of the world that we live in” and had been prepared for the current events from the standpoint of the sanctions policy. Russia is still a component of the global economic system.

WATCH | Earlier Thursday, life went about as normal in Moscow:

In the wake of Ukraine’s invasion, Muscovites carry on their normal lives

Hours after Ukraine invaded Ukraine on Thursday, Moscowers went about their normal lives in a seemingly ordinary way. 0:40

Shokhin stated that Russia must stimulate additional demand for Russian government debt by private investors. This is in light of the new Western sanctions against Russian state bonds. He warned that new Western sanctions will be more severe than those previously imposed and could disrupt supply chain logistics.

He also advised the West not to impose sanctions on climate-related projects.

Putin said to Shokhin, “I would like to express my gratitude for all that you have done in such difficult circumstances.”

Photos from Ukraine within hours of the invasion:| Images from inside Ukraine in the hours after the invasion began:

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