Russia arrests hundreds as call-up sparks protests


Russian police are reported to have arrested hundreds of protesters rallying against the Kremlin’s decision to call up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine.
Russian human rights group OVD-Info put the total at more than 1,300. The largest numbers arrested were in St Petersburg and Moscow.
Dozens were held in Irkutsk and other Siberian cities, and Yekaterinburg.
Flights out of Russia sold out fast after Vladimir Putin’s announcement.
Pictures on social media showed long queues at border posts, and on Google, the search for “how to leave Russia” skyrocketed.
Russia’s president ordered a partial mobilisation, meaning some 300,000 military reservists – but not conscripts – will be drafted to bolster Russia’s forces who have suffered recent battlefield reverses in Ukraine.
The move came a day after occupied areas of Ukraine announced snap referendums on joining Russia.
And in remarks condemned by Ukraine and its allies, Mr Putin stressed that he would use “all available means” to protect Russian territory – implying this could involve nuclear weapons.