|▲ A Russian woman is participating in the protest with her daughter holding a picket against the invasion of Ukraine (Source: Yonhap News)
In Russia, antiwar public opinion has already begun to emerge since January, with celebrities such as famous Russian singers, intellectuals, and democratization activists, publishing public letters against the war on the Internet. However, the reason why the antiwar theory in Russia was not well known to the outside world, is that local media controlled by the government, did not report on itself. According to Ukrainian media on February 20, as the possibility of Russia's invasion of Ukraine increased, the Russian people were concerned about Russia's massive loss of life and economic crisis in the event of a war, therefore, they held a massive antiwar protest in Moscow on February 13. However, after the war broke out, protests were taking place around the world criticizing Vladimir Putin and opposing the war. Among them, the largest anti-war protest is currently taking place in Russia.
The U.S. Associated Press (AP) said protests against Russia's invasion of Ukraine are taking place in 53 cities, including Russia's capital Moscow and the city of St. Petersburg. Anti-war protesters in Russia protested against Putin, criticizing him for inciting an excessive war for his political ambitions, saying, "Arrest Putin," and, "I'm ashamed of my country." More than 3,000 protesters were arrested by police in 50 cities, including Moscow, for three days, but the heat of the protests did not fade, with protesters marching in the form a scrummage on armed police. Not only domestic Russians but also Russians living in foreign countries all over the world, participated in demonstrations with signs saying, "I'm Russian. I'm sorry," while protesting to stop the war. One Russian citizen acted in protest by burning his passport, saying he was ashamed of his country.
The voices cheering for Ukraine and criticizing Putin are even aligned with global superstars. Angelina Jolie, a special envoy to the U.N. Refugee Organization, wrote on her SNS, "I'm praying for the Ukrainian people." Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk, the winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Literature, said, "I can't express the sadness and fear of the barbaric attack in words," expressing her position on the invasion of Ukraine. Along with the support of celebrities for Ukraine, Russian celebrities are also adding their support. Russian Chess player Garry Kasparov also said, "I don't think Putin can use the word, 'President,' because he has been in power for more than 20 years. He's a dictator who loves war," he said, expressing his conviction against Putin. Among figures connected to the Russian government, Elena Kovalskaya, Director of the Meyerhold National Theater, resigned, calling President Putin a, "murderer," and, "It's impossible to work for a murderer and receive a salary from him. I resign in protest of Russia's invasion of Ukraine." she stated on February 24.
On March 2, the Russian military launched an unexpected air assault operation in downtown Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city in the northeast, and deployed airlift units to the rear of Ukrainian forces in the southern and eastern cities. On this day, Kherson, a logistics hub city on the southern coast of Ukraine with a population of 300,000, was taken over by Russian troops. The originally scheduled armistice negotiations between Russia and Ukraine have been postponed, and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, "Russia's indiscriminate bombing must be stopped first to sit at the negotiating table." However, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine entered the seventh day, as of March 3, Russia's offensive is getting fiercer in order to win as soon as possible. The U.S. Department of Defense expects Russian troops to be able to tactically control Ukraine in four to six weeks, and believes the Ukrainian government has little time left.
The invasion of Ukraine, the hottest international issue, is still underway. Russians are also ashamed of their country and demand peace between Russia and Ukraine along with the global community. As the U.S. and other Western countries are also preparing and strengthening sanctions against Russia, a further war will encourage unnecessary loss of life between the two countries, as well as an international isolation of Russia. Russia should stop indiscriminate attacks and open the door for negotiations with Ukraine, as the world is paying attention.
By Kim Su-gyeong, cub-reporter firstname.lastname@example.org
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