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2 Russian lawmakers branded traitors and ordered out of meeting for demanding Putin end invasion of Ukraine

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Leonid Vasyukevich, a Russian lawmaker, giving a speech on the Ukraine war in Primorsky Krai
Leonid Vasyukevich urges Vladimir Putin to stop the war in Ukraine during a session of the Primorksy Krai legislative assembly on Friday.YouTube
  • Two officials in the Primorksy Krai region of Russia made an unexpected demand to end the war.

  • The men upended a government meeting, were branded traitors and ordered to leave.

  • Hardly any officials in Russia have spoken out to oppose the war in Ukraine.

Two regional officials in Russia were branded traitors and ordered to leave a legislative meeting after calling on Vladimir Putin to end the invasion of Ukraine.

Deputies Leonid Vasyukevich and Gennady Shulga spoke at a meeting on Friday of the legislative assembly of Primorsky Krai in far eastern Russia. Both are part of Russia's Communist Party.

Video of the meeting shows Vasyukevich unexpectedly calling on Putin to end the war, which he said is failing and costing many Russian lives. Shulga later speaks in his support.

Vasyukevich starts speaking about 1 hour 59 minutes into the clip:

According to an Insider translation, he said: "If our country does not stop the military operation, the number of orphans in our country will increase.

"Over the course of the military operation young people lose their lives or become disabled. Those young people could have been very useful to our country.

"It has been almost three months and it is not possible to succeed by means of warfare. The continuation of the military operation will lead to the increased numbers of dead and wounded military personnel. We demand the immediate withdrawal of the Russian troops from Ukraine."

Other officials at the meeting tried to stop Vasyukevich, shouting over him that he was speaking without permission and that the war was not the subject of the meeting.

According to Radio Free Europe and Russia's Kommersant newspaper, Primorsky Krai governor Oleg Kozhemyako described the men as traitors and ordered them to be removed.

Insider was not able to verify whether the men were indeed removed.

Anatoly Dolgachev, the leader of the Communist Party in the Primorsky Krai assembly, said the party would punish Vasyukevich and Shulga with "the toughest measures," according to BBC Russian.

Vladimir Putin seen at a pro-war rally in Moscow on Friday, March 18.
Vladimir Putin seen at a pro-war rally in Moscow in March.Getty Images

Dolgachev said they "discredit the honor of the Communist Party with such statements."

Neither Vasyukevich Shulga, or indeed the entire Primorsky Krai assembly, have any direct influence on Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

However, the intervention was a strikingly rare example of public dissent from politicians in Russia, where virtually all officials and state media vocally support the war.

The Moscow Times reported that two other instances are known to have taken place.

Russians are also rarely given accurate reports of the conflict in Ukraine.

News of military losses is suppressed, while it is illegal for media to report anything contrary to the official narrative — including the evidence of mass killings of civilians by Russian forces.

It is also illegal to call the attack on Ukraine an invasion or a war.

Read the original article on Business Insider