According to an independent monitor, police in Russia arrested roughly 1,400 individuals at anti-war protests held in towns around the country after President Vladimir Putin began an invasion of Ukraine.
Alexey Navalny, a jailed opposition leader who used to organise Russia's largest anti-Putin marches, is serving a two-and-a-half-year sentence in a prison colony outside Moscow.
More than 250 journalists signed an open letter condemning the violence. Another was signed by 250 scientists, while a third was signed by 194 municipal council members from Moscow and other places.
'Divert their focus.'
The Investigative Committee, a government body that probes significant crimes, has cautioned Russians that participating in unofficial rallies due to "the tense foreign political situation" could result in legal consequences.
"I realise that many of you are feeling desperate, helpless, and ashamed as a result of Vladimir Putin's onslaught on the friendly nation of Ukraine right now. But I implore you not to despair," Marina Litvinovich, a human rights campaigner, said in a video appeal on Facebook, urging for widespread protests.