‘This is Putin’s Russia’: Sobbing children detained in Moscow after taking flowers to Ukraine embassy

Video footage appears to show mother comforting crying daughter through metal bars after five children aged between seven and 11 detained for hours

Chiara Giordano
Monday 07 March 2022 10:33 GMT
Russian mother comforts kids after being arrested for taking flowers to Ukrainian embassy
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Children have reportedly been detained in Moscow after taking flowers to lay at the Ukrainian embassy.

Images emerged of three primary school age children sitting in the back of what was said to be a Moscow police van on Tuesday as the Russian invasion of Ukraine entered its sixth day.

One girl can be seen clutching a homemade banner with “no to war” written in Russian with colouring pens, while another in a pink jacket who appears to have been crying holds a bunch of flowers.

Another photo shows the same girl in the pink jacket standing up against the bars of a metal cage in the van, and later sitting on a chair beside a desk as a woman in police uniform works on a computer in the background.

According to anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova, five children aged between seven and 11 were detained along with their two mothers.

Ms Arkhipova, who works at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, shared a video on Facebook of one of the mothers holding her crying daughter’s hand through metal bars as she tries to console her.

She tells the child they were arrested because “the task is for fewer people to gather and say they’re against the war”, according to the Moscow Times.

Five children were reportedly arrested in Moscow with their mothers after taking flowers and anti-war posters to the Ukrainian embassy (Alexandra Arkhipova/Facebook)

Ms Arkhipova said police allegedly threatened to strip the women of custody over the five children.

They were reportedly released hours later and face a trial and fine on unspecified charges.

Russian opposition politician Ilya Yashin also shared the images on Twitter alongside the message: “Nothing out of the ordinary: just kids in paddy wagons behind an anti-war poster. This is Putin’s Russia, folks. You live here.”

Homemade anti-war banners can be seen lying on a desk beside one of the detained children as a woman in police uniform works on a computer in the background (Alexandra Arkhipova/Facebook)

He recalled drawing anti-war posters alongside his classmates at school, adding: “Children against war is damn normal.

“Children should absorb anti-war ideas with breast milk. And now this is equal to extremism”

At least 6,500 people are thought to been arrested in Russia during protests against the Ukranian invasion.

This map shows the extent of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Press Association Images)

Demonstrations have taken place in more than 100 Russian cities since Putin sent his forces to attack Ukraine, according to the OVD-Info project, an independent Russian human rights monitoring group.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has tried to downplay the scale of the protests, saying that while Mr Putin “hears everyone’s opinion”, he also knows “the share of those who have a different point of view and those who are sympathetic to such a necessary operation”.

Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has called on Russians to stage daily protests against Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, depicting president Vladimir Putin as an “obviously insane czar”.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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