More than 150 senior Russian officials have signed an open letter condemning President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine as 'an unprecedented atrocity' and warning of 'catastrophic consequences', Daily Mail reported.
The deputies said they were 'convinced' Russian citizens do not back the war and blamed Putin 'personally' for ordering troops into Ukraine in an attack 'for which there is no and cannot be any justification', the report said.
The letter urged Russians 'not to participate in the aggression' and called on citizens to speak out against the invasion because 'only massive popular condemnation can stop the war'.
Among the letter's signatories were Moscow deputies Elena Rusakova, Maxim Gongalsky, Andrey Morev, Elena Kotenochkina and Elena Filina, as well as St Petersburg officials David Kuvaev and Polina Sizova, and Veliky Novgorod deputy Anna Cherepanova.
It was a surprising step for Russian officials to speak out against Putin, who usually holds an iron grip on dissent, and last week televised a meeting with Moscow's top security chiefs in which they appeared to be railroaded into backing his plans to invade Ukraine, Daily Mail reported.
The letter, which described the signatories as those 'elected by the people', said they 'unreservedly condemn the attack of the Russian army on Ukraine'.
"This is an unprecedented atrocity for which there is no and cannot be justification. The decision to attack was made personally by Russian President Vladimir Putin. We are convinced that the citizens of Russia did not give him such a mandate," it said.
The letter warned of 'catastrophic consequences' - 'Thousands of people will die, be injured and maimed, cities dear to many Russians will be destroyed', the report said.