DAccording to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the partial mobilization ordered by Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin in Russia is hitting ethnic minorities particularly hard. “We see that people, especially in Dagestan, have started fighting for their lives,” Zelenskyy said in his video address that night. He was referring to violent protests that had broken out hours earlier in the Muslim-dominated Russian republic of Dagestan in the Caucasus.
During a protest against the mobilization of reservists, police officers there on Sunday, according to civil rights activists, even fired warning shots at demonstrators. More than 780 people were arrested over the weekend during anti-war protests in more than 30 Russian cities across Russia, according to the independent organization OVD-Info.
In view of the recent defeats of his army, Kremlin chief Putin ordered last Wednesday that reservists should now also be committed to fighting in Ukraine. Since then, many Russians have been in panic. The Russian war of aggression has been going on for more than seven months.
Civil rights activists: Warning shots at anti-war protest
In the village of Endirej in Dagestan, residents blocked a road to prevent the partial mobilization ordered by Putin, civil rights activists said. Videos show police officers pointing guns in the air, then shots are heard. According to Dagestani media, the protest was a reaction to 110 men from the village being forced into the war against Ukraine. There were also major protests in Dagestan’s capital, Makhachkala.
Dagestan is one of the regions of Russia from which, according to observers, a particularly large number of men are conscripted. Activists complain that members of ethnic minorities are particularly hard hit by the mobilization and therefore sometimes even speak of “ethnic cleansing”. Anti-mobilization protests are also particularly large in the Yakutia and Buryatia regions of Siberia.
Sham referendums continue despite shelling
In the areas occupied by Moscow in the east and south of Ukraine, the occupiers are continuing to hold mock referendums on the region’s accession to Russia, despite shelling. According to the occupation authorities, two people died in a hotel in the Cherson region in a Ukrainian rocket attack.
The votes, which have been criticized internationally as a breach of international law, are also scheduled for Tuesday in the Zaporizhia, Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Putin had emphasized that Moscow would then treat attacks by Ukraine on the areas as attacks on its own territory and would defend itself with all means. The West is preparing new sanctions in response to the annexation.
Zelenskyj: Putin is not bluffing with nuclear threats
In an interview with US broadcaster CBS News, Zelenskyy made it clear that he took Putin’s nuclear threats seriously. “Maybe it was a bluff yesterday. Now it could be a reality,” Zelenskyy said, according to the translation. Referring to the skirmishes around the Russian-held Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, he said: “He (Putin) wants to scare the whole world. These are the first steps in his nuclear blackmail. I don’t think he’s bluffing.”
In his speech announcing the partial mobilization on Wednesday, Putin said: “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will absolutely use all available means to protect Russia and our people. That’s not a bluff.” Observers saw it as a threat to use nuclear weapons.
Berlin doesn’t want EU citizens at the top of Russian state-owned companies
According to the German government, EU citizens should no longer be allowed to hold top positions in Russian state-owned companies. This emerges from a proposal from Berlin for new sanctions against Russia, which is available to the German Press Agency in Brussels. The background is likely to be the case of ex-Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who was the head of the supervisory board of the Russian oil company Rosneft for many years. First, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported.
What will be important on Monday
Dealing with Russian conscientious objectors is to be coordinated at EU level on Monday. 27 EU ambassadors are to meet under the so-called crisis response mechanism.
In addition, mock referendums on accession to Russia continue in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine. Ukraine and the West see a breach of international law in the compulsory votes scheduled until Tuesday. It is expected that the areas will be annexed and possibly declared Russian state territory by Putin on Friday.