Moscow, Sep 22 (EFE).- At least 1,386 people were arrested across Russia during protests against the partial mobilization announced by President Vladimir Putin to reinforce Moscow’s “special military operation” in neighboring Ukraine, human rights organization OVD-Info said Thursday.
“At least 1,386 people were detained in 38 cities” on Wednesday, said the group, which has been declared a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities.
OVD-Info said that the arrests were made in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Permian, Ufa, Krasnoyarsk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Novosibirsk, Yakutsk, Ulan-Ude, Arkhangelsk and Korolev, among others.
A total of 509 people were arrested in Moscow and at least 541 in St. Petersburg, the country’s second largest city, according to the organization.
“Violence was used against peaceful protesters,” OVD-Info said, adding that journalists were detained in several cities.
The human rights organization said that in some cases in Moscow, the police tried to force detainees to receive a summons to the military registration and enlistment office.
The public prosecutor’s office in the capital has warned that individuals convicted of organizing or participating in illegal actions will face up to 15 years in prison.
Calls on the internet to participate in public actions or to carry out other illegal acts will also be punishable.
In a televised speech early Wednesday, Putin announced that he had signed a decree on the partial mobilization of the military “to protect our motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He said the measure, which entered into effect on Wednesday, was needed “to ensure the security of our people and people of the liberated territories.”
Only reservists would be subject to conscription, he added.
The Russian president insisted that the decision to launch a “preventive military operation (in Ukraine) was absolutely necessary,” since the Ukrainian attack on Donbas was inevitable.
He also accused the West of using Ukraine as an instrument to attack Russia.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a subsequent address that 300,000 reservists will be mobilized in support of the Special Military Operation, which began Feb. 24. EFE