They described the attack as ‘an unprecedented atrocity’ and warned of ‘catastrophic consequences’.
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 justification’, Daily Mail reports.
Putin in the early hours of Thursday gave the order to attack, delivering an extraordinary address to the Russian nation in which he declared a ‘special military operation’ to ‘de-militarise’ and ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine in what amounted to an outright declaration of war.
Missiles and bombs rained from the sky, tanks rolled across the border, troops parachuted down on eastern regions and explosions were seen across the country in the early hours and into the morning.
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.