LONDON - Security forces detained more than 1,300 people in Russia on Wednesday at protests denouncing mobilisation, a rights group said, hours after President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia's first military draft since World War Two.
The independent OVD-Info protest monitoring group said that according to information it had collated from 38 Russian cities, more than 1,311 people had been held by late evening.
It said those figures included at least 502 in Moscow and 524 in St Petersburg, Russia's second most populous city.
Unsanctioned rallies are illegal under Russia's anti-protest laws.
Russian Interior Ministry official Irina Volk, in a statement quoted by Russian news agencies, said officers had cut short attempts to stage what it called small protests.
"In a number of regions, there were attempts to stage unauthorised actions which brought together an extremely small number of participants," Volk was quoted as saying.
"These were all stopped. And those persons who violated laws were detained and taken to police stations for investigation and establish their responsibility."
One-way flights out of Russia were rocketing in price and selling out fast on Wednesday after Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists.