Live Updates: Ukraine agrees to talks with Russia, as Putin puts nuclear forces on alert

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Live Updates: Ukraine agrees to talks with Russia, as Putin puts nuclear forces on alert

SOCHI, Russia – Thousands took to the streets of Russian cities on Sunday to protest Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine.

Protests on Sunday are followed by similar anti-war protests across the country that take place every day in dozens of Russian cities as Russian troops crossed the Ukrainian border early on Thursday. Protesters also came out in cities around the world.

Many Russian protesters said they were shocked by Mr Putin’s decision to send troops and heavy weapons, which many in Russia consider a “brotherly nation”. Millions of Russians have relatives or friends in the cities of Ukraine. Many people grew up in Ukraine and cherish childhood memories.

At the protests, many said they had come to express solidarity with the Ukrainian people and that they believed Mr Putin’s decision would cause serious damage to Russia.

Fyodor Gurov, for example, said he had never taken part in protests before, but was shocked when he read the news on Thursday that Russia had invaded Ukraine, where his relatives live.

“I started to feel ashamed that I live in Russia,” Mr. Gurov, 22, said on the phone from a police van.

On Sunday, Mr Gurov said he would stand in front of the Russian Foreign Affairs building in central Moscow with a poster “Not for War!” Came saying. Shortly after his arrival, the police took him into custody, threatening to break his hand. Mr Gurov, a flight attendant, also fears losing his job as European countries block airspace for Russian flights.

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In Moscow, “Not for War!” Crowds of people went around the center of the city, shouting slogans. To make it difficult for the police to stop them, they tried not to focus on one spot. Still, police arrested more than 1,100 people in the Russian capital alone and more than 1,100 in other Russian cities, according to OVD Info, a rights group that tracks arrests over demonstrations in Russia.

In addition to arresting people at the demonstrations, Russian officials also said they would increase pressure in other regions. For example, government employees who signed letters and petitions against the war were threatened with dismissal.

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office warned Russians on Sunday that a provision of “assistance to a foreign organization or their representatives in activities directed against Russia’s security” could qualify as high treason, with imprisonment of up to 20 years. There may be a prison sentence. Russia’s communications watchdog announced Friday that it would partially limit access to Facebook as a retaliation for the banning of certain Kremlin media accounts.

On Sunday, several Russians also came to lay flowers on a bridge in front of the Kremlin, where a prominent Russian opposition politician, Boris Nemtsov, was brutally shot dead seven years ago. Throughout his political career, Mr. Nemtsov spoke out against any form of Russian aggression against Ukraine.

Some people, who took part in the initial wave of protests on Thursday, could not go out again to avoid committing the same crime twice. For example, Alexei Kudasov was arrested on Thursday and later released, so he decided not to take the risk, but said he is “ready to do everything to stop this nightmare. “

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Mr Putin’s decision will cause “nothing but sadness for both sides of the conflict,” he said, adding that he would donate to rights organizations and help spread true information about the conflict.

Mr Kudasov, 31, a copywriter, said: “People shouldn’t spend their nights in the subway moving tin soldiers on a map for the president of another country.” “Many of us in Ukraine have relatives and friends – to attack such a neighbor is an absolutely barbaric decision.”

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