‘I fear Putin is unstoppable’: Russians on the invasion of Ukraine

Russian forces have attacked Ukraine on the orders of Vladimir Putin who announced a “special operation” at dawn on Thursday. World leaders have denounced the invasion and warned that it could ignite the largest war since 1945.

Though many Russians may support their president’s actions in Ukraine, others are against the conflict. A new poll released by the independent Levada Centre showed only 45% of Russians were in favour of Putin’s recognition move that preceded the invasion. There were protests against the war in town and cities across Russia on Thursday night.

A Guardian callout asking for Russian views about the situation with Ukraine received scores of submissions from people across the country, though the majority came from respondents living in Moscow. Many of those who contacted the Guardian did so to express their concern over the escalation.

Among the submissions were younger Russians who had got in touch to say that they were opposed to their government’s actions in Ukraine, with many emphasising they had family, friends and partners in Ukraine. “Russian youth are devastated by the prospect of war between Russia and Ukraine,” Dmitry, a 21-year-old student in Moscow, said. “All of my friends and I, who live in Moscow and other Russian cities, are extremely scared. No one expected that the war would really break out.”

I went to sleep about five o’clock [on Thursday morning after watching Putin’s address to the nation]. I spoke to my friend from western Ukraine, as he was discussing the possibility of leaving the country, and when I woke up at nine, I realised it [the attack on Ukraine] had happened.”

Dmitry, who was one of more than 150 people who responded to the reader callout, said there was a “clear generational divide”. “I would say that almost all of my friends oppose Putin’s actions. There are numerous posts on social…

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