Video Shows Russians Leaving Pro-War Rally in Large Numbers

Social media video shows a flood of Russians leaving Friday's pro-war rally in Moscow before speakers had taken the stage at Luzhniki Stadium. Roughly a half-hour after the rally opened, crowds of people were seen leaving.

The event was dedicated to Friday's eighth anniversary of Russia's annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine, which is trying to fight off the Russian invasion.

Since the invasion began on February 24, thousands of people in Russia have been arrested for taking part in anti-war protests. On March 6 alone, more than 4,300 people were detained for participating in demonstrations, according to independent monitoring group OVD-Info.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was at Friday's rally, told the audience that "we haven't seen unity like this in a long time."

According to the Ministry of the Interior of the Russian Federation, more than 95,000 people attended the event in the stadium and an additional 100,000 people were outside the venue. The high turnout was in part from Russian state employees who were reportedly ordered to attend.

Outside the stadium, one attendee told BBC News: "They packed us onto the bus and brought us."

This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.

Russia Pro-War Rally Putin
Videos show attendees of Friday's pro-war rally leaving in droves just moments after the event opened in Moscow. Above, people wave Russian flags as they mark the eighth anniversary of Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine at Luzhniki Stadium on March 18, 2022. Ramil Sitdikov/AFP