OVD-Info says about 500 arrests made in 69 cities including Pacific port city of Vladivostok and Siberian city of Irkutsk.

Police detained about 5000 people on Sunday at Russia-wide protests against President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, according to an independent protest monitoring group.

Thousands of protesters chanted “No to war!” and “Shame on you!”, according to videos posted on social media by opposition activists and bloggers.

Russia’s interior ministry said earlier that police had detained around 3,500 people, including 1,700 in Moscow, 750 in St Petersburg and 1,061 in other cities. The ministry said 5,200 people had taken part in the protests.

The OVD-Info protest monitoring group said it had documented the detention of about 5,000 people in 69 different cities.

The arrests on Sunday brought the total number of people held in anti-war protests since the invasion began on February 24 to 13,318, OVD-Info said.

On February 24, Russian President Putin ordered what he calls a “special military operation” to defend Russian-speaking communities against persecution in Ukraine and to prevent the United States from using Ukraine to threaten Russia.

The West has called his arguments a baseless pretext for war and imposed sanctions that aim to cripple the Russian economy. The US, United Kingdom and other NATO members have supplied arms to Ukraine.

Founded in December 2011 by Moscow journalist Grigory Okhotin and programmer Daniil Beilinson, OVD-Info is an independent Russian human rights media project aimed at combating political persecution.

On September 29, 2021 the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation designated OVD-Info as a “foreign agent.”  Critics say the decision is designed to stifle dissent.