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Russia's Mobilization Order is Met with Protests and an Exodus to the Border

President Putin's call for recruits to support his military invasion of Ukraine leads to massive numbers of citizens protesting and fleeing the country.
Russia's Mobilization Order is Met with Protests and an Exodus to the Border

Russian President Vladimir Putin's order to mobilize more troops to bolster his struggling military campaign in Ukraine has been rippling across Russia, as the military swiftly drafts new recruits and signs of discontent appear to spread, reports NPR.

Russians are protesting and fleeing the country as Putin orders a draft for Ukraine (NPR)

Excerpt from NPR: Putin announced the decision Wednesday, framing it as a "partial mobilization" that he insisted affects only a small percentage of Russians with a background in military service. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu ordered an immediate call-up of 300,000 additional troops — even as multiple news reports suggested the real number could be three times as many. The Kremlin has tasked regional governors with overseeing the draft and stiffened penalties for refusal of service or desertion to 10 years in prison. Meanwhile, the decree's impact is increasingly clear. Dozens of videos have emerged on social media showing families and friends seeing off young recruits to fight. 
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According to the New York Times, a day after President Vladimir V. Putin announced a call-up that could sweep 300,000 civilians into military service, thousands of Russians across the country received draft papers on Thursday and some were being marched to buses and planes for training — and perhaps soon a trip to the front lines in Ukraine.

Ukraine War Comes Home to Russians as Putin Imposes Draft (New York Times)

Excerpt from New York Times: Mr. Putin’s escalation of the war effort was reverberating across the country, according to interviews, Russian news reports and social media posts. As the day wore on, it became increasingly clear that Mr. Putin’s decision had torn open the cocoon shielding much of Russian society from their leader’s invasion of a neighbor. Mothers, wives and children were saying tearful goodbyes in remote regions as officials — in some cases, ordinary schoolteachers — delivered draft notices to houses and apartment blocks. In mountainous eastern Siberia, the Russian news media reported, school buses were being commandeered to move troops to training grounds. Russian officials said the call-up would be limited to people with combat experience. But the net appeared wider, and some men decided it was best to head for the borders.
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In a related story, Russian authorities made more than 1,300 protest-related arrests on Wednesday as thousands demonstrated against President Vladimir Putin’s move to call up military reservists into the country’s armed forces, according to the independent Russian human rights group, writes the Washington Post.

The crackdown on antiwar protests "suggests that there’s broad dissatisfaction with the conflict in Ukraine,” said Robert English, director of Central European studies at the University of Southern California, noting that the protests follow the "crushing of an earlier round of protests in the beginning weeks of the war."

Over 1,300 arrests reported as Russians protest military mobilization (Washington Post)

Excerpt from the Washington Post: Protests broke out in several Russian cities shortly after Putin declared a partial military mobilization on Wednesday, an escalation of Russia’s offensive that is expected to call up as many as 300,000 reservists to active duty in the country’s first military mobilization since World War II. Verified video footage shows Russian police officers arresting protesters Wednesday by pushing them onto the ground or stuffing them into buses. One video shows a police officer attempting to strike a man in the face outside a building on a busy shopping street; another shows a man being arrested after shouting, "I have no intention of dying for Putin," to a backdrop of modest applause at a rally in the city of Novosibirsk. "The fact that both right-wing, pro-regime figures and left-wing liberal critics are both attacking this brutal war is significant," English said.
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And in another related story from the Associated Press, one day after Ukraine’s president laid out a forceful case against Russia’s invasion at the United Nations, the United States made its own assertions in front of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday about why Russia should face further censure and isolation. Minutes later, Russia came right back, calling the claims unfair and saying Ukraine is to blame.

One day after Zelenskyy speech, US, Russia square off at UN (Associated Press)

Excerpt from the Associated Press: Antony Blinken, the United States’ top diplomat, spoke to Security Council members on Thursday, detailing allegations of what he called war crimes and other atrocities committed by Russia and urging them to "send a clear message" to the country to stop its nuclear threats. Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, addressed the Security Council shortly afterward, repeating his country’s frequent claims that Kyiv has long oppressed Russian speakers in Ukraine’s east — one of the explanations Moscow has offered for the invasion. Ukraine’s Western allies "have been covering up the crimes of the Kyiv regime," said Lavrov, who was not in the room when Blinken and some other U.S. allies spoke. He appeared just before his own speech and departed immediately afterward. The almost-exchange between the two top diplomats came on the heels of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s demands for world leaders to punish Russia in a video speech delivered Wednesday, just hours after Moscow made an extraordinary announcement that it would mobilize some reservists for the war effort.
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