Over 5,000 Russian Protesters Arrested Since Invasion of Ukraine

Over 5,000 Russian protesters have been arrested since the nation's President Vladimir Putin sent military forces to invade Ukraine, according to data from the human rights organization.

OVD-Info, which is actively tracking the number of arrests in Russia, reported on Monday that at least 5,941 Russian protesters have been arrested since the country first invaded Ukraine last week. On Sunday alone, the human rights group reported that over 2,800 Russians were arrested across 56 different cities.

2,800 detained on Sunday, many of them will spend the day in court today. We regularly update information about defenders from OVD-Info here: https://t.me/ovdinfo/13528

The number of Russian protesters arrested over the past several days comes as conflict continues to escalate between Russia and Ukraine with military fights occurring in numerous Ukrainian cities, including the nation's capital Kyiv.

In addition to fighting in Kyiv, Russian military forces have also launched an attack on Ukraine's second largest city of Kharkiv. In a statement on Monday, Ukraine's interior ministry adviser Anton Herashchenko said that "Kharkiv has just been massively fired upon by grads (rockets). Dozens of dead and hundreds of wounded."

In response to the invasion, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that he had sent a delegation to the Belarusian border for peace talks with Russian officials.

As fighting has continued to rage in Ukraine, dozens of Russian citizens have taken to the streets to protest the war. A day after Russian military forces invaded Ukraine, over 1,700 Russian protesters were arrested, in what was one of the nation's largest protests since citizens rallied to support Kremlin-opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who has been in jail for several months.

In a tweet on Monday announcing the number of arrests since Russia invaded Ukraine, OVD-Info said that they are "aware of numerous cases of brutal arrests and unjustified violence towards peaceful protesters. Police is using stunt guns and chokeholds, beating protesters over the head with batons. We have information about at least one person who's had their arm broken."

"Detainees' rights are also being violated: at police stations they are forcibly photographed and fingerprinted, their lawyers are not allowed inside the police stations," the human rights group said in a subsequent tweet.

In a statement last week, the Investigative Committee of Russia issued a statement warning residents that they could be arrested for organizing and conducting "unauthorized events" such as protests.

"We remind that calls for participation and direct participation in events that are not authorized in accordance with the established procedure entail serious legal consequences," the statement said. "According to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, people who committed such illegal acts may face imprisonment."

Newsweek reached out to the Investigate Committee of Russia for comment but did not receive a response in time for publication.

Russian Protests
Over 5,000 Russian protesters have been arrested since the nation's military forces invaded Ukraine last week. Above, people take part in a protest condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 28, 2022, in Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines. Ezra Acayan/Getty