Putin abandoned by his OWN team as president’s power play backfires spectacularly

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Mikhail Matveyev, a member of lower house of Russian parliament State Duma, today called on the Kremlin to stop the invasion. Other pundits who have in the past been friendly to the Kremlin have also expressed dissatisfaction with the president’s power play in Ukraine.

Mr Matveyev said: “By voting to recognise the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics I voted for peace, not a war.

“For Russia to become a shield for the Donbass, not for bombing Kyiv.”

MP for Russia’s second largest party the Communist Party of the Russian Federation Oleg Smolin added yesterday that he was “shocked” by the invasion.

Mr Smolin had not voted in favour of the recognition of the Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics, which Putin announced last Monday and was seen as a significant escalation by the Kremlin.

The MP said he could not do so “without betraying myself”, and added of the war that he “pitied human lives, both ours and those not ours.”

The movement of troops into Ukraine came just two days after the recognition of Donetsk and Luhansk as separatist regions.

However, it was only on Thursday morning that it became clear that Putin had ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The blowback against Putin’s invasion came amid many other anti-war statements from Russian officials and journalists.

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Andrey Kortunov, director of the Russian International Affairs Council, which advises the foreign ministry, told the BBC he had not advised Russians officials to launch an invasion and that many in the Russian government were shocked at the decision.

He said: “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.”

Some of Russia’s most respected journalists have also spoken out against the invasion.

However, many of them have been punished by the Russian foreign ministry for doing so.

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Elena Chernenko, a veteran foreign affairs reporter for the Kommersant newspaper who often travelled with Sergey Lavrov, the foreign minister, said on Friday she was ejected from his pool for “unprofessionalism”.

Meanwhile, thousands of Russian people have taken to the streets of their country to demonstrate against the invasion of Ukraine.

At least 1,400 people have reportedly been detained by Russian police at anti-war protests in 51 cities.

Videos shared on social media show protesters chanting “no to war” and carrying signs.

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