©Provided by The Daily Digest
Nicholas Reimann, Forbes Staff
Some Russian anti-war protesters who were arrested Wednesday have been conscripted into the military, according to multiple reports, after demonstrating against President Vladimir Putin’s “partial mobilization” of military reserves to support forces in Ukraine.
- More than 1,300 people have been arrested in protests in at least 38 cities across Russia since Wednesday, according to Russian human rights organization OVD-Info.
- A spokeswoman for the group told CNN that some of those detained were then drafted, which independent media outlets are also reporting.
- Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov did not seem to deny reports at a briefing Thursday, reportedly saying drafting protesters is “not against the law.”
Putin announced in a prerecorded address Wednesday that some 300,000 reservists were being called up to support the invasion of Ukraine, sparking what are believed to be the largest protests in Russia since the war started in February. Putin said the draft will only apply to those already in the reserves, but many Russians appeared unconvinced. One-way flights out of Russia quickly sold out, with prices for economy class tickets out of Moscow surging to more than $9,100 after the announcement, according to the Associated Press. Google Trends data also showed major search spikes in Russia for terms like “Russian passport” and “emigration.” Finland’s Border Guard also said traffic at border crossings with Russia “intensified” following Putin’s address. Putin additionally used his speech to again float the threat of using nuclear weapons, warning “those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can turn in their direction.”
Putin’s move comes after a series of humiliating military setbacks due to a Ukrainian counteroffensive. Russian forces have ceded control of dozens of towns and villages in the Kharkiv region back to Ukraine in recent weeks.
U.S. gas prices are rising again after a 99-day streak of declining prices came to an end Wednesday. Experts say concerns about an escalation of the war in Ukraine are among the reasons for the renewed price spike.