Two women and five children who wanted to lay flowers at the Ukrainian embassy in Moscow, were detained by Russian police.
The children who are between the ages of 7 and 11 were held in a van with their mothers until they were taken to a police station. Alexandra Arkhipova, an anthropologist, says they were released hours later.
She identified the two women detained as Ekaterina Zavizion and Olga Alter. The kids accompanying the two women are Sofya Gladkova, 7 years old, Lisa Gladkova 11 years old, Gosha Petrov 11 years old, Matvey Petrov 9 years old and David Petrov 7 years old.
The anthropologist, who works at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, wrote on Facebook: “Everything that has happened is not stuck in my head.” (Translated from Russian)
Arkhipova has also shared video footage on social media that shows one of the children crying and a woman comforting her. Watch the video here:
The police, according to Arkhipova, threatened to take away the children’s custody from the two women. A trial and a fine await them on unspecified charges, she added.
“The parents are in fear.”
A Russian website that tracks protests and arrests, OVD-Info, says children up to 14 years of age cannot be legally held for more than three hours.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukrainian foreign minister, shared images of the children and said it was another sign of the toll that the war between Russia and Ukraine is taking on children.
He wrote on Twitter: “Putin is at war with children. In Ukraine, where his missiles hit kindergartens and orphanages, and also in Russia. 7 y.o. David and Sofia, 9 y.o. Matvey, 11 y.o. Gosha and Liza spent this night behind bars in Moscow for their ‘NO TO WAR’ posters.
In cities across Russia, thousands of people have defied police threats and protested against the invasion of Ukraine. The authorities have a low tolerance for protests and marches, and those who attend them can suffer serious consequences such as fines, arrests and even incarceration.
More than 320 anti-war protesters have been arrested across 33 Russian cities, according to OVD-Info. Since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine last Thursday, a total of 6,840 people have been detained.