NEWS: Russia
Russian police arrest more than 2,000 anti-war protesters in Ukraine.

Police detain a demonstrator during an action against Russia's attack on Ukraine in St. Petersburg, Russia, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022. Protests against the Russian invasion of Ukraine resumed on Saturday evening, with people taking to the streets of Moscow and St. Petersburg for the third straight day despite mass arrests. OVD-Info rights group reported that at least 325 people were detained in 26 Russian cities on Saturday in antiwar protests, nearly half of them in Moscow. (AP Photo/Dmitri Lovetsky)

Russ­ian police have arrest­ed more than 2,000 anti-war pro­test­ers across the coun­try, an inde­pen­dent mon­i­tor said, on the fourth day of Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin’s inva­sion of Ukraine, which took many Rus­sians by surprise.

OVD-Info, which has been doc­u­ment­ing the crack­down on the Russ­ian oppo­si­tion for years, said 2,114 pro­test­ers were arrest­ed Sunday.

Turkey calls Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine a “
That brought to 5,250 the num­ber of pro­test­ers arrest­ed since Putin launched the inva­sion in the ear­ly hours of Thurs­day, the mon­i­tor said.

In Moscow, riot police often out­num­bered the pro­test­ers, some of whom car­ried hand­writ­ten signs with peace signs and anti-war slo­gans in Russ­ian and Ukrain­ian. Some wore masks with the word “Enough” writ­ten on the front.

A jour­nal­ist from the inde­pen­dent tele­vi­sion sta­tion Dozhd was arrest­ed dur­ing the protests after show­ing his accred­i­ta­tion to police and wear­ing a press vest.

Out­side the upscale Gostiny Dvor depart­ment store in down­town St. Peters­burg, hun­dreds of anti-war pro­test­ers gath­ered, hug­ging and chanting.

Many held signs that read “No to war,” “Rus­sians go home” and “Peace to Ukraine.”

“It’s a pity that there are hun­dreds, even thou­sands of us, and not mil­lions,” said 35-year-old engi­neer Vladimir Vilokhonov, who took part in the protest.

Anoth­er pro­test­er, Aly­ona Stepano­va, 25, came to the demon­stra­tion with a packed bag in case “we were tak­en away.”

“We think it’s our duty to come here,” she said.

Riot police tried to muf­fle their anti-war cries by play­ing patri­ot­ic music.

“I am against the war. I was born in 1941 and I know what it means,” said Vale­ria Andreye­va, who was born the year Nazi Ger­many attacked the Sovi­et Union.

Sun­day’s protests coin­cid­ed with the sev­enth anniver­sary of the assas­si­na­tion of oppo­si­tion politi­cian Boris Nemtsov.

In Moscow, some of the arrests took place at a makeshift memo­r­i­al just out­side the Krem­lin at the site where Nemtsov was shot, a Reuters wit­ness said. “No to war!” shout­ed one of the pro­test­ers as he was led away by police.

Nemtsov was a promi­nent crit­ic of Putin, Rus­si­a’s 2014 annex­a­tion of Crimea and Moscow’s sup­port for pro-Russ­ian sep­a­ratists in Ukraine, which ulti­mate­ly led to what Putin calls a “spe­cial oper­a­tion” to pro­tect two sep­a­ratist regions, though his troops are fight­ing in wider Ukraine.

Ukraine’s West­ern allies have imposed unprece­dent­ed sanc­tions in response to Rus­si­a’s land, sea and air invasion.

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