Russia arrests protesters on Ukraine war anniversary DW German

Russia arrests protesters on Ukraine war anniversary – DW (German)

Russian authorities have taken several people into custody for speaking out against the war in Ukraine on the anniversary of Russia’s full-scale invasion of its neighbor, rights groups and media reported on Friday.

At least eight people have been arrested in Yekaterinburg, Russia’s fourth-largest city, according to OVD-Info, a Russian human rights group that tracks arrests of dissidents.

People across Russia actively protested the war in Ukraine during the first week of the 2022 invasion. But large rallies fizzled out after thousands were arrested.

Nonetheless, isolated protests continued throughout the year. Ben Hodges, former commander of US Army Europe, told DW on Friday that it was difficult to gauge the true level of Russian public support for the war.

“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 the best indicator of opposition to the war is that hundreds of thousands of Russian men fled the country to avoid conscription.

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How many people were arrested?

SOTA, one of the last independent news agencies in Russia, filmed at least seven people who were arrested in St. Petersburg for bringing flowers to a monument to well-known Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko.

The outlet released a video showing a police officer explaining to a couple that they have broken coronavirus restrictions.

OVD-Info reported that at least nine people were arrested in St. Petersburg, the second largest city in Russia.

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SOTA also reported on a person arrested in Moscow, where people flocked to the monument to famous Ukrainian writer Leysa Ukrainka.

Footage from the outlet showed police officers monitoring but not interrupting the group of people bringing flowers to the memorial.

Russian opposition newspaper Meduza also reported that a young woman had been arrested in Korolev, a town in the Moscow region, for holding up a sign that read “I support peace”.

The outlet reported that a Vyksa city councilor had been arrested for holding a sign reading “Peace to Ukraine. Soldiers go home” had protested.

The Russians also staged solidarity protests in other cities such as Rostov-on-Don, Magnitogorsk and Vladivostok.

DW Note: Our full coverage of the first anniversary of the war in Ukraine can be found here.

rm/sms (AP, dpa)