MOSCOW — Shocked Russians turned out by the hundreds Thursday to decry their nation’s invasion of Ukraine as emotional requires protests grew on social media. Some 1,745 individuals in 54 Russian cities had been detained, at the very least 957 of them in Moscow.
A whole lot of posts got here pouring in condemning Moscow’s most aggressive actions for the reason that 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Vladimir Putin referred to as the assault a “particular navy operation” to guard civilians in jap Ukraine from “genocide” — a false declare the U.S. had predicted could be a pretext for invasion, and which many Russians roundly rejected.
Tatyana Usmanova, an opposition activist in Moscow, wrote on Fb that she thought she was dreaming when she awoke at 5:30 a.m. to the information, which she referred to as “a shame that will probably be eternally with us now.”
“I need to ask Ukrainians for forgiveness. We did not vote for many who unleashed the struggle,” she mentioned.
As sirens blasted in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital, and huge explosions had been heard there and in different cities, Russians had been signing open letters and on-line petitions demanding the Kremlin halt the assault, which the Ukrainian well being minister mentioned had killed at the very least 57 Ukrainians and wounded dozens extra.
“Public opinion is in shock, individuals are in shock,” political analyst Abbas Gallyamov advised The Related Press.
One petition, began by a distinguished human rights advocate, Lev Ponomavyov, garnered greater than 150,000 signatures inside a number of hours and greater than 330,000 by the top of the day. Greater than 250 journalists put their names on an open letter decrying the aggression. One other one was signed by some 250 scientists, whereas 194 municipal council members in Moscow and different cities signed a 3rd.
“I am frightened in regards to the individuals very a lot, I am frightened to tears,” mentioned Zoya Vorobey, a resident of Korolyov, a city exterior Moscow, her voice cracking. “I have been watching tv since this morning, each minute, to see if something adjustments. Sadly, nothing.”
A number of Russian celebrities and public figures, together with some working for state TV, spoke out towards the assault. Yelena Kovalskaya, director of a state-funded Moscow theater, introduced on Fb she was quitting her job, saying “it is inconceivable to work for a killer and receives a commission by him.”
“I do know that proper now a lot of you’re feeling desperation, helplessness, disgrace over Vladimir Putin’s assault on the pleasant nation of Ukraine. However I urge you to not despair,” human rights activist Marina Litvinovich mentioned in a video assertion on Fb, calling for mass protests Thursday night.
“We, the Russian individuals, are towards the struggle Putin has unleashed. We do not assist this struggle, it’s being waged not on our behalf,” Litvinovich mentioned.
However the authorities had been having none of that.