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Forced to fight in Ukraine/ Protests continue in Russia, hundreds arrested
Hundreds of people have been arrested as protests against Russia's "partial mobilization" continue across the country, an independent human rights group has said.
OVD-Info said 724 people were arrested in 32 different cities on Saturday. Widespread demonstrations have erupted since President Vladimir Putin called up 300,000 men to fight in Ukraine.
Illegal gatherings are prohibited under Russian law. But Putin's move to draft civilians into the army has sparked large-scale protests in urban areas, with more than 1,000 people arrested in demonstrations earlier this week.
In Moscow, the AFP news agency reported that a protester shouted "we are not cannon fodder" as she was then arrested. And in St. Petersburg, Russia's second city, a protester told reporters: "I don't want to go to war for Putin."
Putin signed new decrees on Saturday that impose sentences of up to 10 years in prison for any soldier caught surrendering, trying to desert the army or refusing to fight.
The president also signed orders granting Russian citizenship to any foreign citizen who signs up to serve a year in the country's army.