Russia arrests more than 1,300 anti-mobilization protesters

Russian security forces arrested more than 1,300 people on Wednesday who gathered in several cities to protest the partial mobilization ordered by Vladimir Putin, who raised the bar in the war in Ukraine with the worst escalation since the February invasion.

The independent Russian protest monitoring group OVD-Info says on its front page that 1,314 people were detained on Wednesday during protests against the mobilization of 300,000 reservists ordered by Putin yesterday.

Hundreds were arrested in protests — illegal under Russian law — in the capital Moscow and the second-largest city, Saint Petersburg, the group said.

On Wednesday, Putin announced in a televised speech an immediate “partial mobilization” of the Russian army and claims to be ready to defend “our people” in the Donbas. Four Eastern Ukrainian regions under Russian occupation will hold hasty referendums to join the Russian Federation amid ongoing fighting.

After the announcement of the immediate partial mobilization, some flights from Russia to visa-free destinations for Russians, such as Istanbul in Turkey and Yerevan in Armenia, sold out within hours.

The first Russian troop mobilization since World War II sent oil prices soaring early on Wednesday amid fears that escalating the war could lead to further isolation and more Western sanctions against Russia, including on its energy exports. Security of energy supply, including gas, is also a concern with the most recent moves from the Kremlin.

Later on Wednesday, oil prices plummeted and fell after the US Energy Information Administration reported crude inventories of 1.1 million barrels for the week through Sept. 16, as well as stock increases in gasoline and middle distillates. Hours later, oil extended its losses after the Fed announced another 75 basis point rate hike – the third such major rate hike in a row. The 75 basis point increase was largely expected, but still dragged prices down amid concerns about the economy and oil demand.

Oil opened higher on Thursday amid concerns that an escalation of the war in Ukraine would jeopardize supplies.

By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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