Police in Moscow are said to have arrested primary school students for placing flowers in front of the Ukrainian embassy and holding banners that said “no to war.”
Ilya Yashin, a Russian opposition leader, claimed to have images showing three youngsters in the back of a police vehicle waving banners and flowers, as well as others behind metal bars and in what seemed to be a police station.
The Moscow Times said that a video showing a mother of one young girl attempting to calm her screaming daughter inside a jail later surfaced, revealing why the group had been detained.
A uniformed police officer could be seen in the background. Five children aged seven to eleven, as well as their two moms, were seized, according to local media.
Officers allegedly stopped them for carrying flowers and colorful hand-drawn anti-war placards to the Ukrainian diplomatic building.
Thousands of Russians have flocked to the streets to protest Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, ignoring an official warning that anybody advocating for or participating in a protest would face prosecution and jail time.
So far, more than 7,000 individuals have been detained in 50 locations around the country.
Posting photos of the children on Twitter, Mr Yashin said: “Nothing out of the ordinary: just kids in paddy wagons behind an anti-war poster. This is Putin’s Russia, folks. You live here.”
The Moscow politician, who backs Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, added: “The realities of Putin’s Russia, guys. I am sure that the Kremlin propaganda will now raise a war: do not involve children in politics! They are to blame!
“I don’t know how these kids ended up at the protest. Maybe they came by themselves, maybe with their parents.
“But in fact, many generations in our country (were) taught from the school bench that the worst thing is war, and the main value is the peaceful sky above the head.
“I remember very well how in my native Tushin school N172 we used to draw anti-war posters and stengazets behind the desk. And that’s OK!
“Children against war is damn normal! Children should absorb anti-war ideas with breast milk. And now this is equal to extremism – and this is madness.”
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, who also published the photos on social media, said it was another another example of the toll President Putin’s assault on Ukraine is taking on children.
The children were liberated after a lawyer intervened, according to Amnesty International.