The Kremlin on Friday called on Russians to stand behind President Vladimir Putin, more than a week after the start of the invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin calls on the Russians to stand together behind Putin
In Russia, anyone who opposes the decision to invade Ukraine is arrested

"Now is not the time for division," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, in response to a question about appeals by public figures to end the war.

"Now is the time to stand united, stand united behind our president," he added.

A large segment of Russians oppose the war declared a week ago by Putin against their eastern neighbor, Ukraine.

Movements opposing the Russian president organize demonstrations, which the security forces often abort by force, and the organizers are arrested.

Dozens of people were arrested Wednesday evening during rallies in Moscow and St. Petersburg against the invasion of Ukraine, organized at the call of jailed dissident Alexei Navalny, according to AFP correspondents.

In the Russian capital, at least seven people were arrested near a square next to the Kremlin, where an organization announced a demonstration against the war, and a heavy police presence was recorded before the time of the action.

Not even children were spared from arrest, according to a report published by the American public radio "NPR".

The radio said that the Russian police arrested 5 children, aged between 7 and 11, with their parents, and placed them in custody, after they stood in front of the embassy carrying anti-war slogans.

The report quoted Alexandar Arkipovia's account, which she wrote on her Facebook page, that police officers shouted at the mothers and threatened them that they might lose the right to care for their children.

In addition, the Russian authorities are cracking down on television and radio stations, which in their view do not correspond to the "interests of the country".

On Thursday, Russia's largest independent radio station was shut down and a leading independent television station was suspended, as Russian authorities sought to stifle criticism of the invasion of Ukraine.

Echo of Moscow, or Echo of Moscow, has been one of the most influential and respected media outlets in the country since its founding in 1990.

With many other independent news outlets closed amid a strict government crackdown on opposition activists and independent media in recent years, the station has been the most prominent critical media outlet still in existence in Russia.

Source : AFP

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