Russia-Ukraine war: Hundreds apprehended as Russian army recruitment protests persist

Hundreds of people have been seized by authorities as protests against Russia’s new “partial mobilisation” persist across the country with 724 people detained across 32 different cities on Saturday.

The widespread demonstrations broke out since President Vladimir Putin declared plans to draft 300,000 men to battle in Ukraine.

Unsanctioned rallies are outlawed under Russian law. However, Putin’s move to draft civilians into the military has provoked large scale protests in urban areas, with more than 1,000 people being detained at demonstrations earlier this week.

Seventy-year-old Natalya Dubova told AFP that she defied the war and confessed she was “afraid for young people” being ordered to the front.

Some of those arrested on Saturday reported being handed draft papers and ordered to report to recruiting centres while being held by security officials. The Kremlin defended the practice earlier this week, saying “it isn’t against the law”.

Also, Moscow has approved harsh new punishments for those accused of dereliction of duty once drafted.

Putin endorsed fresh decrees on Saturday inflicting punishments of up to 10 years imprisonment for any soldier caught surrendering, attempting to desert the military or refusing to fight.

Also, he signed orders approving of Russian citizenship to any foreign national who signs up to serve a year in the country’s military.

The decree, which some observers have proposed, shows how drastic Moscow’s shortage of armies has become, evades the usual requirement of five years of residency in the country.

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