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Ukraine: Russian MPs Speak Out Against Invasion In Rare Display Of Dissent

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Ukraine: Russian MPs Speak Out Against Invasion In Rare Display Of Dissent

Members of Russia's parliament have spoken out against the war in Ukraine in a rare display of dissent from President Vladimir Putin.

Thousands of people in Russia have made clear their disapproval of the ongoing war in Ukraine after Putin sent troops across the border on February 24, with many taking to the streets in protest and even being arrested for their determined displays.

Joining those voicing their criticism are three members of Russia's Communist Party, one of whom claimed Duma members were not informed of plans for a full-scale invasion. Duma is the country's lower house of the federal assembly.

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Vladimir Putin (Alamy)
Vladimir Putin (Alamy)

The Communist Party typically remains loyal to Putin on key issues despite being the opposition to the governing United Russia party, The New York Times notes, but MP Vyacheslav Markhaev, from Siberia, claimed Russia 'hid plans to unleash a full-scale war with our closest neighbour.'

Markhaev and the other two Communist members were among the majority of Duma deputies who voted in favour of recognising Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine as independent shortly before the invasion, but claimed he believed a government decree saying troops would be sent in as peacekeepers, rather than to fight.

Similarly, Communist member Oleg Smolin described himself as 'shocked' when the invasion began in a post on social media. As cited by The Times, he continued: 'As a Russian intellectual, I am convinced that military force should be used in politics only as a last resort.'

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The third display of dissent came in a since-deleted post from Communist deputy Mikhail Matveyev, who allegedly said on social media that the war must be immediately stopped and claimed he 'voted for peace, not for war.'

He added: 'For Russia to become a shield, so that Donbas is not bombed, and not for Kyiv to be bombed.'

Andrey Kortunov, director of the Russian International Affairs Council that advises the foreign ministry, claimed he had not advised Russians officials to launch an invasion while speaking to BBC News on Saturday, The Telegraph reports.

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Kortunov said many people in the Russian government were shocked at the decision to begin fighting in the country, saying: 'I would say that many of us in the foreign office were surprised and I would say shocked and I would even say devastated to see what is happening. This is an important red line that was crossed by the Russian leadership and the repercussions are likely to be very significant.'

Putin agreed to peace talks following the start of the invasion, with Anton Geraschenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s minister of internal affairs, saying the two sides started discussions Sunday.

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Russia, Ukraine, Politics, World News

Emily Brown
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