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Reports: Russian Police Arrest Nearly 1,400 Protesters Against Ukraine War

Russian police arrested 700 protesters Thursday who were urging leader Vladimir Putin to end his assault on Ukraine, the Agence-France Presse (AFP) reported citing independent monitors.

Update: Since the initial publishing of this post, AFP has revised their toll of Russians arrested to nearly 1,400.

Protests erupted throughout the country after Putin announced in the early morning hours of Thursday what Ukrainian officials are calling a full-scale invasion of their country. Opposition activists rapidly began organizing social media calls for assemblies against the war.

Russian celebrities also took to social media to denounce Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hours earlier, the Moscow Times reported.

“Pop stars, late-night television hosts and film directors have been posting black squares to Instagram in protest of the war,” the online newspaper reported on February 24.

“We the Russians will be dealing with the consequences of today for many more years,” socialite and former Russian presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak wrote in a caption posted to her Instagram account.

Ordinary Russian citizens attempted to protest Ukraine’s invasion offline this week, according to the Russian police activity-monitoring website OVD-Info. Police in Moscow, St. Petersburg, and other Russian cities reportedly detained dozens of people for trying to stage solo demonstrations against the war with Ukraine from February 22 to February 24.

In the Pushkin Square area, people are chanting "No to war," according to @tvrain — Sam Sokol (@SamuelSokol) February 24, 2022

Возле Гостиного двора в Петербурге собралось, по оценкам корра «Новой», около двухсот человек. Толпа скандирует «Нет войне!». Полиция в мегафон предупреждает о недопустимости массовых акций в период коронавирусных ограничений. Несколько десятков человек задержаны. Видео: «Новая» — Новая Газета (@novaya_gazeta) February 24, 2022

A Russian opposition activist named Marina Litvinovich urged Russians to participate in protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine across various Russian cities, including Moscow, on the evening of February 24. Police allegedly detained Litvinovich on February 24 in Moscow before she could participate in the protests she called for hours earlier, according to Litvinovich’s own account.

“I was detained on my way out of the house,” the activist wrote in a message shared by her personal Telegram channel on Thursday.

“Moscow prosecutors warned that unauthorized gatherings are illegal and will lead to ‘negative consequences,'” the Moscow Times relayed on February 24.

Elena Chernenko, a reporter for the Russian daily newspaper Kommersant, launched an anti-war petition this week that collected roughly 100 signatures from other Russian journalists by February 24. Employees of Russian news outlets including Dozhd, RBC, Novaya Gazeta, Ekho Moskvy, Snob and The Bell signed the petition, according to Cherneko’s personal Telegram account. Staff from the Russian state-run news agencies TASS and RT allegedly added their names to Cherneko’s petition, as well.

A group of 30 independent Russian media outlets also voiced opposition to the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, according to the Moscow Times.

“We, journalists of independent Russian media, declare that we are against the massacre started by the Russian leadership,” the website wrote on February 24.

The following message greeted visitors to’s website on Thursday morning:

This message (material) was created and (or) distributed by a foreign media outlet acting as a foreign agent and (or) a Russian legal entity acting as a foreign agent.

The Russian-state backed memo reflects the Kremlin’s attitude toward and other self-proclaimed “independent” Russian news sites.

Moscow officially designated a “foreign agent” in April 2021 due to its alleged financial support by foreign backers, which the website denies. Meduza’s “.io” domain pertains to the British Indian Ocean Territory, though it is also known as “a generic top-level domain (TLD), anyone in the world can register.”

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