More than 1,700 anti-war protesters have been arrested in 54 cities across Russia – as dozens of protesters express their fury at Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
At least 957 people were detained in Moscow as Kremlin forces advance on site of Chernobyl nuclear disaster Thursday.
Hundreds of people also took to the streets of Saint Petersburg and the city of Yekaterinburg.
A number of Russian public figures have spoken out against Moscow’s attempt to take control of its neighbor.
The director of a state-funded theater in the Russian capital, Yelena Kovalskaya, announced on Facebook that she was quitting her job – writing that it is ‘impossible to work for a killer and get paid by him’ .
Engineer Yekaterina Kuznetsova said: “This is the most shameful and terrible day of my life. My country is an aggressor.
“I hate Putin. What else would it take to make people open their eyes?”
Human rights activist Marina Litvinovich has urged Russians to take to the streets to show their opposition to the ongoing violence.
She said in a video statement on Facebook: “We, the Russian people, are against the war that Putin has started.
“We are not supporting this war, it is not being fought in our name.”
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However, authorities launched a crackdown on critical voices, with Litvinovich among those detained.
Meanwhile, a petition started by prominent human rights defender Lev Ponomavyov was signed by more than 330,000 people within hours of its launch.
More than 250 journalists added their names to an open letter denouncing the attack.
Another letter was signed by about 250 scientists, while nearly 200 city council members from Moscow and other cities supported a third letter.
Chernobyl fell after Ukrainian troops fought for hours with their Russian rivals, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
The violence has sparked anger across the world with hundreds of people gathered outside the Russian Assembly in Tel Aviv, Israel, where four people were arrested on suspicion of scribbling anti-Putin graffiti.
Demonstrations also took place across Europe, including in the UK, Spain, France, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary and Poland.
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Dozens of Ukrainians also gathered outside the Irish parliament, joined briefly by Taoiseach Micheal Martin – who promised Ireland would back the “strongest and most comprehensive” sanctions package to punish Putin’s regime.
In Edinburgh, protesters waved Ukrainian flags and chanted “Glory to Ukraine” outside the Russian consulate in the Scottish capital’s new town.
Meanwhile, hundreds sang the Ukrainian national anthem outside Downing Street in central London as they demanded Britain and other democracies step up action against Russia .
Natalia Ravlyuk, who helped organize the protest, said they wanted the “toughest punishments and total isolation from Russia now”.
“We… feel betrayed by democratic states because we have been talking about this war for eight years,” she said.
“They just need to wake up and stop Putin now.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has triggered what he called the ‘Largest set of sanctions ever imposed’ by UK on Russia following the invasion.
And President Joe Biden also announced new measures in an effort to “maximize the long-term impact” on Russia.while minimizing the impact on allies.
Learn more about the invasion of Ukraine – click here for live updates and analysis