Thousands of Russians took to the streets and fled the country after Vladimir Putin called for a mass mobilization of reservists.

Protesting and criticizing the war in Ukraine is illegal in Russia, and more than 1,300 people have been arrested in 38 cities across the country, including Moscow and Saint Petersburgaccording to the France-Presse Agency.

Wednesday’s demonstrations were the largest in Russia since Putin started his unprovoked war on February 24. The few remaining flights from Russia sold out quickly at exorbitant prices, and long lines were spotted along them land borders with Finland and Mongoliareports the Washington Post.

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“Thousands of Russian men – our fathers, brothers and husbands – will be thrown into the war meat grinder,” said the opposition group Vesna. “What will they die for? What will mothers and children cry for? “

Putin’s backup appointment could mean 300,000 Russians will be forced to join his inept war effort in Ukraine. The Russians were recently shaken by a lightning-fast Ukrainian offensive in the Northeast.

With News Wire services

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