Activist investigating Soviet crimes against Poles detained in Moscow

Alexander Guryanov, Polish Programme Coordinator at the now-banned Memorial rights group investigating Soviet crimes, was detained during an anti-war protest in Moscow on Sunday.

Guryanov was arrested with his Memorial colleague, Oleg Orlov, while protesting against Russia's war in Ukraine.

The activists came to a square in Moscow brandishing placards with anti-war slogans. They were arrested within minutes and taken to a police station.

Russia has taken a tough stance on any protests against its invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin persistently calls a "special military operation". People who publish reports which are inconsistent with the government's propaganda, or even use the word "invasion" or "war", face long prison sentences.

Russia has recently outlawed the Memorial Society, an association investigating crimes committed by the Soviet regime. The country's Supreme Court ruled that Memorial had breached rules on the registration of "foreign agents". Prosecutors also said the rights organisation created a false image of the USSR as a terrorist state and attributed a favourable history to Nazi criminals.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, attacking its neighbour from three sides with overwhelming military forces. What was likely planned to be a swift military operation aimed to topple the government has turned into a more prolonged conflict, with thousands of casualties on both sides and the number of refugees exceeding three million, most of them heading towards the Polish border.