Russia: more than 700 demonstrators against the mobilization arrested, according to an NGO | War in Ukraine

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Russia: more than 700 protesters against the mobilization arrested, according to an NGO | War in Ukraine

Russian police detain a protester during a rally in Moscow against the mobilization of reservists ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

< p class="e-p">Russian authorities on Saturday arrested more than 700 people during protests against the mobilization of reservists to fight in Ukraine, decreed this week by President Vladimir Putin, an NGO reported.

According OVD-Info, an organization specializing in counting arrests, at least 710 people have already been arrested in 32 cities in Russia, almost half of them in Moscow.

Police arrest a man in Moscow during a demonstration against the partial mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin.

In the Russian capital, a large police force had been deployed in the central district of Chistye Proudy, noted AFP journalists.

Most of the demonstrators present walked or stood still individually or in small groups so as not to be spotted and arrested. Despite everything, AFP attended the arrest of around twenty people.

We are not cannon fodder! shouted a young woman as police in riot helmets dragged her away. This is one of the slogans of the demonstrators opposed to sending mobilized soldiers to Ukraine.

In Saint Petersburg (north-west), the second largest city in the country, AFP saw around 30 people being taken on board a police bus.

Russian police detain a protester during a rally in Moscow against the mobilization of reservists ordered by President Vladimir Putin.

Again, the protesters were trying to keep a low profile.

Ilia Frolov, 22, brought a small banner with the word peace written on it. I want to express my disagreement with what is happening […] I don't want to fight for Putin, he says.

I am against war and mobilization. I'm afraid for young people, says another resident, 70-year-old Natalia Doubova.

As of Wednesday, the day Mr. Putin announced the mobilization, nearly 1,400 protesters had been arrested across Russia.

Some of them, including two with whom AFP was able to speak, said that the authorities had given them a mobilization order at the police station.

The Kremlin has defended this practice , ensuring that it was not illegal.

Demonstrations against the offensive in Ukraine are harshly suppressed in Russia. Several thousand people have been arrested since the start of the conflict in February.

In contrast, hundreds of people gathered in Moscow and Saint Petersburg on Friday to support the offensive and annexation of Russian-controlled areas. Without being worried.

A Russian family at the Verkhny Lars border crossing between Georgia and Russia, where long lines of vehicles formed after the announcement of the partial mobilization.

Russian authorities recognized a large influx of cars seeking to enter Georgia on Saturday, with some 2,300 vehicles counted at a single border crossing.

There is a large accumulation of private vehicles, around 2,300 in total, which have arrived in the republic of North Ossetia and are queuing to pass through the Verkhni Lars checkpoint, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. x27;Inside this Russian republic bordering Georgia.

Due to this influx, crossing customs is difficult, added the ministry, which calls on Russians not to seek to leave the country.

The Ministry did not specify how much more vehicles queuing at the border was than usual, but announced the deployment of additional police officers to ensure road safety.

< p class="e-p">The borders with Kazakhstan and Mongolia have also seen an influx of Russians, with reports of people sometimes waiting several hours before being able to cross.

On Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said reports of an exodus of Russians were greatly exaggerated.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed amendments on Saturday that include penalties of up to 10 years in prison for soldiers who desert, surrender to the enemy without permission, refuse to fight or disobey orders during mobilization, such as #x27;is currently the case.

These amendments to the Criminal Code, which had been voted on by Parliament this week, have been published on the government's legal portal and have therefore entered into force.

Acts of looting are also punishable by up to 15 years in prison.

These legislative changes come as Russia this week decreed a partial mobilization of reservists to fight in Ukraine, where Moscow forces have suffered setbacks in recent weeks.

This mobilization order, which according to the authorities concerns 300,000 people, has aroused the concern of many Russians, some choosing to leave the country.

Members of a Russian army special forces unit

At a time when Moscow is desperately trying to recruit more men to go to the front in Ukraine, Mr. Putin also signed a law on Saturday that facilitates access to Russian citizenship for foreigners. ;enlisting in the army.

According to this law, also published on the government's legal portal, foreigners who join the army for a period of at least one year will be able to apply for nationality, without having to justify the five years of residence on Russian territory normally required.

This measure seems to be aimed primarily at immigrants from the former Soviet republics of Central Asia, who occupy the most arduous jobs in large cities, such as Moscow.

The mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, also announced on Tuesday the forthcoming opening of a recruitment office within the sprawling administrative center of Sakharovo, a compulsory place of passage for migrants.

Even before Mr. Putin signed the law, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan had called on their nationals this week not to take part in any conflict.

Russia has d& #x27;on the other hand continued on Saturday its referendums of annexation, launched the day before in four regions of Ukraine under its total or partial control, despite new threats of sanctions from the West.

US President Joe Biden thus warned Friday evening of the risk of rapid and severe retaliatory measures in the event of annexations, believing that Russia's referendums are a sham, a false pretext to try to annex parties. of Ukraine by force.

Previously, the G7 countries (Germany, Canada, United States, France, Italy, Japan and United Kingdom) had called all countries to unequivocally reject these sham referendums, shams that have neither legal effect nor legitimacy.

The referendums held in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk and in areas under Russian occupation in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions have will be completed on September 27.

According to the Ukrainian army on Saturday morning, due to a low turnout, members of the polling stations went, accompanied by Russian soldiers, to the homes of residents to vote from their homes. /p>

Without going so far as to denounce the polls, China, Moscow's closest partner, nevertheless went there with its criticism, calling for respect for human rights. territorial integrity of all countries.

These referendums organized in the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk (east), and in areas under Russian occupation in the regions of Kherson and Zaporizhya (south), will end on September 27.

On the diplomatic front, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Saturday called on Ukraine and Russia not to let the war spill over during his speech to the General Assembly in the UN, calling for a peaceful resolution.

From the same rostrum, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Saturday denounced the unprecedented and grotesque Russophobia of the #x27;West.

They do not hesitate to declare their intention not only to inflict a military defeat on our country, but also to destroy Russia, he added, ironically on the condemnations of the annexation referendums underway in several Russian-controlled areas of Ukraine, taking on the United States more directly.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has denounced the “unprecedented Russophobia” of the West and defended the annexation referendums in Ukraine.

By declaring itself victorious in the Cold War, Washington has set itself up almost as an envoy of God on Earth, without any duty, but with the sacred right to act with impunity anywhere and everywhere. matter when, Lavrov said, saying Americans [are trying] to make the whole world their backyard.

He also defended referendums of annexation, depicting people reclaiming the land their ancestors lived on for hundreds of years.

And now the West is throwing a tantrum, has he quipped.

Iran has found itself in the crosshairs of the Ukrainian authorities, who blame it for its arms deliveries to Moscow, including drones, which killed one person in a Russian attack on the port. from Odessa on Friday.

Denouncing hostile behavior, Kyiv has decided to withdraw accreditation from the Iranian ambassador to Ukraine and drastically reduce the staff of the ;Iranian embassy in Kyiv.

Iran on Saturday regretted this decision based on unfounded information relayed by foreign media propaganda against Tehran

The Replacement of Army General Dmitry Bulgakov by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev takes place at a time when the offensive in Ukraine is experiencing organizational difficulties.

Moscow announced earlier the replacement of its most senior logistics officer, at the dawn of a vast mobilization campaign and while the offensive in Ukraine is experiencing difficulties in terms of security. ;organization.

Army General Dmitry Bulgakov was relieved of his post as Deputy Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation due to his transfer to another position, the Ministry of Defense said in a statement, without elaborating.

He was replaced by Colonel General Mikhail Mizintsev, who until then headed the National Defense Control Center and will now be the Deputy Minister of Defense responsible for the material and technical supply of the armed forces, according to the same source.< /p>

At the age of 60, Mikhail Mizintsev held many senior positions within the general staff during his long military career.

He is the target of Western sanctions for his role in the siege of Mariupol, a port city in southeastern Ukraine captured in May by Russian forces at the cost of extensive destruction.

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This change in the general staff comes as President Vladimir Putin this week announced the mobilization of hundreds of thousands of Russians to give new impetus on its offensive in Ukraine.

This mobilization represents a major organizational challenge requiring reservists to be summoned to the four corners of an immense territory, to equip them, to send them to training centers and then to the front.

The military intervention in Ukraine has brought to light major problems in terms of logistics, with analysts pointing highlight these deficiencies as one of the reasons explaining the difficulties encountered by the Russian troops from the start of the offensive.

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