Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on Russians to resist partial solidarity announced by President Vladimir Putin, which has sparked protests and renewed expulsions from the country.
“55,000 Russian soldiers died in this six-month war…,” Zelensky said in his daily address.
“Want more? No? Then protest. Go back. Run away. Or surrender” to the Ukrainian army.
“You are already involved in all these crimes, murders and torture of Ukrainians. Because you were silent. Because you are silent,” Zelensky added.
“And now it’s time for you to choose: for the men of Russia, it’s a choice of death or life, maiming or preserving health.
“For women in Russia, the choice is to lose their husbands, sons, grandchildren forever or still try to save them from death, from war, from one person (Putin),” Zelensky continued.
More than 1,300 people were arrested in protests across Russia on Wednesday after partial solidarity was announced.
There were also reports of mass exodus following the announcement. Flights that allow Russians visa-free entry to neighboring countries outside of Russia were almost fully booked, while prices skyrocketed.
The Kremlin on Thursday dismissed as “false” reports that Russians eligible for mobilization are rushing to leave.