London 2012 100m breaststroke champion Rūta Meilutytė has joined protests against Russian aggression ©Getty Images

Olympic gold medalist Rūta Meilutytė swam through a red-dyed pond in front of the Russian embassy in Vilnius in Lithuania to protest the war in Ukraine.

Meilutytė’s protest was coordinated with the local environmental authorities in Vilnius and was part of the wider "blood-red" protest movement.

On the protest, Meilutytė said in a tweet: "The performance 'Swimming Through' is a call for action in support of the Ukrainian people who are facing genocide committed by Russia."

The dye used by the protesters was confirmed to be harmless by environmental authorities and is similar to the dyes used for events such as St Patrick’s Day.

Vilnius Municipality spokesperson Paulius Vaitekėnas said the protest was an artistic performance to draw the world's attention to Russian aggression.

Lithuania, which shares a border with the Russian enclave Kaliningrad as well as Belarus, which is supporting the invasion, has seen large refugee influxes as a result of the conflict in Ukraine.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine more than a month ago sparked global outrage and has already claimed the lives of thousands of civilians and soldiers.

Russian and Belarusian athletes have been banned from all International Swimming Federation events until the end of the year because of the invasion.

Meilutytė won her gold medal in the women’s 100 metres breaststroke at London 2012.

At 15, she was the youngest Lithuanian athlete to ever win an Olympic medal.

Meilutytė served a 24-month suspension for anti-doping rule violations between July 2019 and 2021, missing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, but has since resumed her competitive career. 

The athlete missed three drugs tests in 12 months.

Meilutytė finished seventh in the 100m breaststroke final at Rio 2016.