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Dozens detained at rally involving wives of Russian soldiers in Moscow | World News

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Dozens of people were detained by police in central Moscow at a rally protesting against Russia’s mobilisation of men to fight in Ukraine, a human rights group has said.

At least 27 people, of most of who were journalists, were targeted at a gathering at the Kremlin wall to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier monument, OVD-Info – which focuses on combating repressions in Russia – said.

It comes as a movement continues to grow involving Russian women who are demanding the return of their husbands, sons and brothers from the front line after they were mobilised by President Vladimir Putin.

Read more: Wives of men mobilised to frontline call for end to ‘legal slavery’

Representatives of The Way Home – a Telegram channel run by Russian relatives – called for members to bring carnations and gather on 3 February, which marks 500 days since mobilisation was declared.

“Firstly, we invite the wives, mothers, sisters, and children of mobilised [Russian soldiers] from all Russian regions to Moscow. It’s important to demonstrate our unity,” organisers wrote.

“Secondly, we invite everyone, all concerned citizens, to wear white headscarves or scarves and bring carnations to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

The wife of a mobilised serviceman, who joined the Russian armed forces involved in a military campaign in Ukraine, comes together with members of the women's movement "Way Home" to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall and to demand return of their husbands from Ukraine front, in Moscow, Russia, February 3, 2024. A slogan on the ribbon reads: "Bring husband back". REUTERS/Stringer
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Laying carnations at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a weekly ceremony. Pic: Reuters

The act of the group laying carnations at the monument occurs every Saturday, but members are not usually detained.

Moscow‘s prosecutor’s office on Saturday claimed the rally had not been coordinated with authorities and issued a warning about calling for and participating in unauthorised mass events.

Some detained individuals were later let go, the group said.

Members of the women's movement "Way Home", including activist Maria Andreeva, demanding the return of their husbands who joined the Russian armed forces involved in a military campaign in Ukraine, stand surrounded by police officers during a gathering in central Moscow, Russia, February 3, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
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Pic: Reuters

Elsewhere in Russia, a fire was extinguished at Volgograd oil refinery following a drone attack, local authorities said.

Andrey Bocharov, governor of Volgograd in southern Russia said fire and rescue services got to work “quickly” and the fire was put out. He said there were no casualties.

Oil producer Lukoil, which owns the refinery, later said it is working as normal.

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Russia and Ukraine have targeted each other’s energy infrastructure in strikes designed to disrupt supply lines and demoralise their opponent in a nearly two-year-old conflict.

People, including activists of women's movement "Way Home" and relatives of servicemen of the Russian armed forces involved in a military campaign in Ukraine, gather to lay flowers at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall as they demand the soldiers' return from Ukraine front, in Moscow, Russia, February 3, 2024. REUTERS/Stringer
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Pic: Reuters

As the war shows little sign of easing up, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said on Saturday that he welcomed the news the German parliament has approved its budget, which includes €7.6bn (£6.5bn) in military assistance for Kyiv.

“My special thanks to @bundesrat and 16 lands for the important political resolution in support of Ukraine as Russia’s full-scale invasion approaches the two-year mark,” he wrote on X.

“We appreciate our German friends’ consistent support at all levels.”

It comes after the EU agreed €50bn (£42bn) in aid.

In late November, Moscow adopted its biggest-ever federal budget, with defence spending overtaking social spending for the first time in modern Russian history.

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