Russia detains more than 2,000 people at anti-war protests: Monitor

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Police detained more than 2,034 people at anti-war protests in cities across Russia on Sunday, the OVD-Info protest monitor said.

Reuters was not able to independently verify that information or to reach the police for comment. Social media videos circulated by Kremlin critics showed hundreds of people marching

The interior ministry warned on Saturday that any attempt to hold unauthorized protests would be prevented and the organizers held to account.

A video posted on social media showed a protester on a square in the far eastern city of Khabarovsk shouting: “No to war - how are you not ashamed” before two policemen detained him.

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Police used loudspeakers to tell a small group of protesters in Khabarovsk: “Respected citizens, you are taking part in an unsanctioned public event. We demand you disperse.”

Reuters was not able to independently verify the post.

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny had called for protests on Sunday across Russia and the rest of the world against the invasion launched by Russia on February 24.

About 2,000 people attended an anti-war protest in Kazakhstan’s biggest city Almaty, videos posted on social media showed. Reuters was unable to independently verify the posts.

The crowd shouted slogans such as “No to war” while waving Ukrainian flags.

Activists put blue and yellow balloons in the hand of a Lenin statue towering over the small square where the rally took place.

“Because of Putin, Russia now means war for many people,” Navalny said on Friday. “That is not right: it was Putin and not Russia that attacked Ukraine.”

Putin, Russia’s paramount leader since 1999, ordered what he casts as a special military operation to defend Russian-speaking communities against persecution in Ukraine and to prevent the United States from using Ukraine to threaten Russia.

The West has called his arguments a baseless pretext for war and imposed sanctions that aim to cripple the Russian economy.

The United States, Britain and some other NATO members have supplied arms to Ukraine.

Putin’s approval ratings have jumped in Russia since the invasion, according to Moscow-based pollsters.

Putin’s rating rose 6 percentage points to 70 percent in the week to February 27, according to state pollster VsTIOM. The FOM
pollster, which provides research for the Kremlin, said Putin’s rating had risen 7 percentage points to 71 percent in the same week.

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