Five Russian children protesting against their country’s military invasion of Ukraine were reportedly arrested and briefly jailed along with their mothers this week.
The kids, ages 7 to 11, were armed with flowers and a sign reading “No War” when they were taken into custody outside the Embassy of Ukraine in Moscow on Tuesday, NPR first reported.
Photos first posted by Alexandra Arkhipova on Facebook show the children behind bars. Arkhipova, a university researcher, said the kids and the two women were detained and brought to a police station.
“Five children aged 7 to 11 and their mothers Olga Alter and Ekaterina Zavizion were detained today for trying to lay flowers to the Embassy of Ukraine (and also – what a terrible crime – the children made a poster! )” Arkhipova wrote in a Facebook post.
Arkhipova said the women and children were eventually released from the police station and fined. She said they are seeking a human rights lawyer.
A video taken by Arkhipova shows a little girl crying, her fingers laced through metal bars.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba shared images of the kids on Twitter, and said that Russian President Vladimir Putin “is at war with children.”
“This is how scared [Putin] is,” Kuleba said.
Russia is thought to have detained more than 6,000 anti-war protesters throughout the country as Russian forces continue to inch closer to Ukraine’s capital city, Kyiv.
“We understand the vast majority [of arrested Russian demonstrators] are released within hours, many after paying an administrative fine, while some are given prison sentences ranging from seven to 25 days under various laws,” the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights said. “There are also reports of unnecessary and excessive use of force by police during and after the arrests.”