Some detainees rounded up in Russia protests are being conscripted directly into military: monitoring group
From CNN’s Matthew Chance & Katya Krebs
Some of the protesters being arrested following nationwide protests against the Ukraine war and Putin’s announcement Wednesday of a partial mobilization are being drafted directly into Russia’s military, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-Info.
Protesters detained by Russian riot police on Wednesday, and who were being held in at least four police stations, were being conscripted directly, said spokeswoman Maria Kuznetsova of OVD-Info, an independent monitoring group, in a phone call with CNN.
One of the detainees has been threatened with prosecution for refusing to be drafted, she said.
The government has said that punishment for refusing the draft is now 15 years in jail.
12:59 a.m. ET, September 22, 2022
More than 1,000 people detained for anti-war protests: monitoring group
From CNN's Uliana Pavlova
At least 1,045 people have been detained across Russia in a crackdown on anti-war protests across two dozen cities in Russia, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-Info on Wednesday.
Arrests took place in Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk, Yekaterinburg, Chelyabinsk, Novosibirsk, Ulan-Ude, Tomsk, Ufa, Perm, Belgorod and Moscow, according to the OVD-info tally.
Moscow prosecutor's office published a statement on Wednesday warning citizens against participation in protests, threatening them with up to 15 years in jail.
Almost one hundred people were detained in St Petersburg on Wednesday after President Vladimir Putin's announcement of a partial mobilization to increase the availability of troops for the war in Ukraine.
Photos released on OVD-Info's Telegram channel showed police in Saint Petersburg using batons against protestors. Videos show police attempting to contain behind barriers a crowd gathering at Isakiivskiy Cathedral, amid chants of “no mobilization."
Videos from Moscow show several protesters being carried away by the police at a demonstration in the center of the city.
One video posted by a journalist from the Moscow internet publication The Village shows dozens of people in Arbatskaya street chanting “Let him go” as one man is carried away.
There was also video from the city of Yekaterinburg of a struggle between police officers and protesters.
As of 8 p.m. Moscow time, 535 people had been detained in 30 cities across Russia, according to OVD-Info.
Most protests appear to have attracted a few dozen people.
Tim Lister, Gianluca Mezzofiore and Anastasia Graham-Yooll contributed reporting.
1:02 a.m. ET, September 22, 2022
There's a sharp rise in demand for flights out of Moscow right now
From CNN's Uliana Pavlova and Tim Lister
Flight sales websites in Russia indicate that all direct flights to countries that do not require Russian visas are sold out through Friday at least.
Direct flights from Moscow to Istanbul, Yerevan in Armenia and Baku in Azerbaijan are among those that are full, according to ticket aggregator sites.
The term “leaving Russia” saw a sharp spike in searches among Russians over the past 24 hours, according to Google Trends.
Google Trends also shows there has been a sharp rise in people searching “Aviasales,” which is a leading Russian flight sales engine. The number has quadrupled in the last 24 hours.
According to Aviasales, a ticket aggregator, one-way tickets on Friday out of Moscow to Istanbul are starting at $2,715 per ticket. Before Russian President Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilization announcement, the tickets cost about $350.
A survey of one-way fares in coming days to Belgrade, Tel Aviv and Istanbul shows a doubling and tripling of prices.
Russian state carrier Aeroflot's website showed that only business-class tickets were available for flights to Armenia Wednesday. According to the Aviasales website late Wednesday, one-way tickets from Moscow to the Armenian capital of Yerevan were available Thursday for $4,241, with multiple stops. All economy-class tickets to Armenia are sold out until Sept. 28.
"Due to inquiries from passengers and the media, we would like to inform you that Aeroflot Group airlines are operating as usual. There are no restrictions on ticket sales," Aeroflot said in a statement.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier announced the immediate partial mobilization of Russian citizens.
12:12 a.m. ET, September 22, 2022
EU foreign ministers to hold emergency meeting on Ukraine
From CNN's Caitlin Hu and Nicki Brown
Foreign ministers of European Union member states, currently in New York attending the United Nations General Assembly, will hold an emergency meeting on Wednesday night to discuss the recent developments related to Russia's war in Ukraine, the EU's top diplomat announced at a press briefing.
High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said the meeting was called after a speech from Russian President Vladimir Putin, which Borrell described as the Russian leader's implicit threat to use nuclear weapons.
Tonight, immediately after knowing the words of Mr. Putin, I am convening an extraordinary and ad hoc informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers with the purpose to agree on a common line. And the common line I'm sure can be summarized as saying, 'We will not be intimidated and will continue full support for Ukraine’s sovereignty,'" he said.
Borrell said Putin looked "like he [was] speaking with ... panic and desperation" in his announcement of an immediate partial mobilization of Russian citizens.
"He is doubling [down] on a failing strategy. By the threat of using nuclear weapons, he is trying to intimidate Ukraine and all countries that support. But he will fail," Borrell said.
In response to a question about what will happen at tonight's emergency meeting, he said:
"I think ministers have to discuss this threat to reiterate continuous support for Ukraine and to alert the international community about the unacceptable situation in which Putin is putting all of us. The ministers will discuss how to continue military support to Ukraine, how to continue putting pressure on Russia."
He also said that new EU sanctions against Russia would be "on the table."
"I will start proposing what to do with sanctions. And we will reinforce our reach out to all states in the world in order to share with them our strong concern for this situation," Borrell said.
Borrell said he does not have plans to meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who is also in New York to attend the UN meeting.