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In a furious row over whether Russians should use a VPN, Maria Butina told Rossiya 1 parents who cannot stop their children from using it should be jailed. Mr Solovyov said: “Let’s jail 100 people who use a VPN but one of the directors in the presidential administration said that it’s ok and that he uses one and watches.” Ms Butina interjected: “It’s not ok for an MP to do it!

“It’s not ok and not because we’re attempting to trick the system somehow.”

Solovyov questioned if people would go onto YouTube.

He added: “Maybe you won’t suffer, maybe I won’t suffer but we’ll lose our children.

“They won’t read books. They’ll install a VPN because standing in front of a train and telling it to stop doesn’t work.

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“If you can’t offer them a higher quality product.”

Referring to students in Yekaterinburg who have said they are against the letter Z, Ms Butina said the parents should be jailed.

Mr Solovyov hit back: “On what grounds? On the grounds they brought their children up badly?

“We’ll soon reach a level of dictatorship which doesn’t exist anywhere in the world!”

It comes as Russia on Tuesday accused the United States of direct involvement in the Ukraine war while the first ship carrying Ukrainian grain to world markets since Moscow’s invasion anchored safely off Turkey’s coast after a problem-free journey.

Russia said it was responding to comments by Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy head of military intelligence, about the way Kyiv had used U.S.-made and supplied High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers based on what he called excellent satellite imagery and real-time information.

Skibitsky told Britain’s Telegraph newspaper there was consultation between U.S. and Ukrainian intelligence officials before strikes and that Washington had an effective veto on intended targets, though he said US officials were not providing direct targeting information.

Russia’s defence ministry, headed by a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, said the interview showed that Washington was entangled in the conflict despite repeated assertions that it was limiting its role to arms supplies because it did not want a direct confrontation with Moscow.

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“All this undeniably proves that Washington, contrary to White House and Pentagon claims, is directly involved in the conflict in Ukraine,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.

“It is the Biden administration that is directly responsible for all Kyiv-approved rocket attacks on residential areas and civilian infrastructure in populated areas of Donbas and other regions, which have resulted in mass deaths of civilians.”

There was no immediate reaction from the White House or Pentagon to the ministry’s assertions.

The Pentagon did deny, however, Moscow’s claims that Russia had destroyed six US-made HIMARS since the war in Ukraine began on February 24. Russia regularly claims it has hit HIMARS, but has yet to show proof.