Russian courts have dismissed prosecutors' requests to remove three young Russian children from their parents' care because they took them to opposition rallies.

The prosecutor's office had asked courts to strip Yelena and Pyotr Khomskiy of their parental rights after they took their daughters, aged three and three months, to an opposition protest on 3 August.

The prosecutors had also sought to strip another couple, Olga and Dmitry Prokazov, of their parental rights after they took their one-year-old boy to a similar opposition rally in late July.

Moscow's Nikulinsky and Lefortovo district courts threw out the cases against the families today.

Mr Khomskiy told reporters after a closed-door hearing at Nikulinsky district court that the family had received a formal warning to make them "change our behaviour". The couple's lawyer, Tatyana Sustina, said that they have essentially been banned from attending rallies with their children, and that they could lose custody if they go to a rally in the future.

Maxim Pashkov, the lawyer for the Prokazov family, said they had also received a formal warning.

Tens of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Moscow in recent weeks, after authorities blocked opposition leader Alexei Navalny's allies from running in city parliament elections on Sunday.

Authorities have responded with a brutal crackdown, and about a dozen people now face jail time for participating in what prosecutors call "mass disorder" and attacking police.

Prosecutors' demands to strip the two families of their parental rights have sparked a storm of criticism in Russia.