Vladimir Putin has said there is broad public support for the invasion of Ukraine that he announced just before dawn on Thursday morning.
But by evening, thousands of people in cities across Russia had defied police threats to take to central squares and protest against the military campaign.
Police had made at least 1,702 arrest in 53 Russian cities as of Thursday evening, according to the OVD-Info monitor, as they cracked down on the unsanctioned protests. Most of the arrests were made in Moscow and St Petersburg, where the crowds were largest.
The protesters chanted: “No to war!” as they exchanged shocked reactions to the attack on Ukraine.
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