More than 150 prominent Russian officials have signed an open letter calling Putin’s invasion of Ukraine a “unparalleled catastrophe” and encouraging citizens “not to join.”

Over 150 prominent Russian officials have signed an open letter calling President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine “unprecedented atrocity” with “catastrophic consequences.”

Officials claimed they are “convinced” that Russian civilians do not support the war, and they chastised Putin “personally” for sending soldiers into Ukraine in an offensive “for which there is no and cannot be justification.”

Putin delivered the command to attack in the early hours of Thursday, February 24, in an extraordinary address to the Russian people in which he announced a “special military operation” to “de-militarize” and “de-Nazify” Ukraine.

Missiles and bombs poured down from the skies, tanks rolled across the border, men parachuted into eastern districts, and explosions erupted all throughout the country, signaling the start of a war.

Officials asked Russians to “not engage in the aggression” and urged citizens to speak out against the invasion since “only huge popular criticism can end the war,” according to the letter.

Moscow deputies Elena Rusakova, Maxim Gongalsky, Andrey Morev, Elena Kotenochkina, and Elena Filina, as well as officials from St Petersburg David Kuvaev and Polina Sizova, and Veliky Novgorod deputy Anna Cherepanova, signed the letter.

It was an uncommon move for Russian officials to speak out against Putin, who is known for repressing opposition.

Around 1500 Russians were arrested on Thursday after taking to the streets of Moscow to protest Russia’s unjustified attacks on Ukraine.

The signatories of the letter were labeled as ‘chosen by the people,’ according to the letter.

‘This is a never-before-seen atrocity for which there is no and never-before-seen excuse. Russian President Vladimir Putin made the decision to attack personally. We are confident that the Russian people did not give him such power.’

‘Thousands of people will die, be injured, and maimed, and cities beloved to many Russians will be destroyed,’ according to the letter.

It predicted that Russia will face “global community criticism,” leading to “isolation, increased prices, and hardship.”

The letter continued, ‘Hopes for a good life in Russia are falling before our eyes.’

‘We strongly advise you not to join in or approve of the aggression. Please don’t stay silent: only a tremendous public outcry can bring the war to an end.’

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