Ukraine Announces Release Of 215 Prisoners In Largest Exchange Since Russia’s Invasion


Greater than 1,000 folks have been arrested in Russia throughout protests in a number of cities in opposition to a partial army mobilization introduced by President Vladimir Putin on September 21.

Demonstrations broke out in Moscow and St. Petersburg and greater than 30 different Russian cities after Putin introduced the mobilization, OVD-Information mentioned.

By 10 p.m. Moscow time almost 1,000 folks had been detained at protests within the Russian capital and St. Petersburg, the human rights challenge mentioned. A complete of about 200 folks had been arrested in different cities, together with Chelyabinsk, Yekaterinburg, Krasnoyarsk, Ufa, Krasnodar, and Irkutsk.

The protest in Moscow included many ladies who chanted “Life to our youngsters!” and “No to warfare!” Movies posted on social media indicated that a number of hundred folks took half within the Moscow protest, the place folks fashioned a series by clasping their fingers. The police pulled protesters out of the chain one after the other.

Contributors held up posters with the blue and yellow colours of the Ukrainian flag and chanted “No to mobilization!” and “Russia with out Putin.”

Authorities warned folks that they confronted as much as 15 years in jail for participating within the demonstrations.

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In St. Petersburg, opponents of the mobilization order, together with many ladies, gathered at St. Isaac’s Cathedral earlier than they had been rounded up by the police. There have been stories that legislation enforcement officers beat demonstrators with rubber truncheons throughout arrests.

Putin introduced the mobilization, on account of begin instantly, in a broadcast to the nation because the invasion of Ukraine nears seven months and whereas Kyiv is regaining territory in a counteroffensive.

“We’re speaking about partial mobilization, that’s, solely residents who’re at present within the reserve will likely be topic to conscription, and above all, those that served within the armed forces, have a sure army specialty, and related expertise,” Putin mentioned.

Putin mentioned his purpose was to “liberate” east Ukraine’s Donbas area, claiming with out offering any proof, that most individuals within the area didn’t wish to return to what he known as the “yoke” of Ukraine.

Russian Protection Minister Sergei Shoigu mentioned in a televised interview on September 21 that solely these with related fight and repair expertise could be mobilized and never conscripts and college students.

The handle got here a day after Russian-occupied areas in jap and southern Ukraine introduced plans to carry votes on being included into Russia, triggering outrage and condemnations not solely in Kyiv however from a lot of the worldwide neighborhood.

Analysts say the Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up 4 areas might set the stage for Moscow to escalate the warfare following Ukrainian successes on the battlefield.

The referendums, which have been anticipated to happen because the first months of the warfare, will begin on September 23 within the Luhansk, Kherson, partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya, and Donetsk areas.

Putin additionally warned the West that “it is not a bluff” that Russia would use all of the means at its disposal to guard its territory.

He accused the West of participating in “nuclear blackmail” and claimed, with out offering proof, that “high-ranking representatives of the main NATO states” had allegedly made statements “about the potential of utilizing nuclear weapons of mass destruction in opposition to Russia.”

“To those that enable themselves such statements concerning Russia, I wish to remind you that our nation additionally has numerous technique of destruction…and when the territorial integrity of our nation is threatened, to guard Russia and our folks, we will definitely use all of the means at our disposal,” Putin mentioned, including “It’s not a bluff.”

British Protection Secretary Ben Wallace described Putin’s mobilization announcement as “an admission that his invasion is failing.”

“He and his protection minister have despatched tens of 1000’s of their very own residents to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led,” Wallace mentioned in a press release. “No quantity of threats and propaganda can cover the truth that Ukraine is successful this warfare, the worldwide neighborhood are united and Russia is changing into a worldwide pariah.”

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte mentioned Putin’s mobilization order was an indication of panic on the Kremlin, that shouldn’t be taken as a direct risk of full-out warfare with the West.

“The mobilization, calling for referenda within the Donetsk, it’s all an indication of panic. His rhetoric on nuclear weapons is one thing we’ve heard many instances earlier than, and it leaves us chilly,” Rutte instructed Dutch broadcaster NOS.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been the goal of worldwide criticism on the UN Basic Meeting in New York.

U.S. President Joe Biden used his speech on the world discussion board on September 21 to say Russia has “shamelessly violated the core tenets” of the UN with its “brutal, unnecessary warfare” in Ukraine.

He mentioned Putin’s new nuclear threats in opposition to Europe confirmed “reckless disregard” for Russia’s obligations as a signer of the Treaty On The Non-Proliferation Of Nuclear Weapons.

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, and AP

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