Children and woman who survived Leningrad siege arrested by Putin's thugs for protesting

2 March 2022, 08:52 | Updated: 3 March 2022, 12:57

Children and an elderly woman who survived the siege of Leningrad in WW2 have been arrested at Russian anti-war protests
Children and an elderly woman who survived the siege of Leningrad in WW2 have been arrested at Russian anti-war protests. Picture: Twitter

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Young children and an elderly woman who survived the siege of Leningrad in the Second World War are among those being arrested for taking part in anti-war protests in Russia.

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Since President Vladimir Putin began his invasion of Ukraine, protests have erupted in cities across Russia as people voice their anger.

Almost 7,000 people have been detained so far in as many as 50 cities, according to the human rights project OVD-Info.

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Opposition politician Ilya Yashin shared pictures on social media of what appears to be three young children in the back of a police van.

He wrote on Twitter: "Nothing out of the ordinary: just kids in paddy wagons behind an anti-war poster. This is Putin's Russia, folks. You live here."

He said in a Facebook post: "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 taught from the school bench that the worst thing is war, and the main value is the peaceful sky above the head."

"Children against war is damn normal", he said, adding: "This is madness."

A well-known Russian woman, identified as Elena Osipova, one of the few survivors of the siege of Leningrad still alive, was also arrested by Mr Putin's police.

She was arrested by several police wearing riot gear in St Petersburg for her protest actions calling for an end to the war.

It comes as Russian forces escalated their attacks with deadly bombings targeting the centre of Kharkiv, Ukraine's second largest city, and a TV tower in the capital Kyiv.

Ukraine said an elite unit of Chechen fighters sent to kill President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has been "eliminated".

Meanwhile, a 40-mile convoy of hundreds of Russian tanks and other vehicles is continuing its slow advance on Kyiv.

Invading forces have also continued assaults on other towns and cities, including the strategic ports of Odesa and Mariupol in the south.

Three cities - Kharkiv, Kherson and Mariupol - are encircled by Russian forces.

One senior Western intelligence official estimated that more than 5,000 Russian soldiers have been captured or killed. Ukraine gave no overall estimate of troop losses.

The UN human rights office said it has recorded 136 civilian deaths. The real toll is believed to be far higher.

The UK Ministry of Defence says it has seen an increase in Russian air and artillery strikes on populated urban areas over the past two days.

Many military experts worry that Russia may be shifting tactics. Moscow's strategy in Chechnya and Syria was to use artillery and air bombardments to pulverize cities and crush fighters' resolve.