Editor investigated over on-air anti-war protest – media
An editor at Russia’s leading and partially state-owned Channel One is being investigated under the new law that bans the spread of fake news about the country’s military, a police source has told TASS news. The law was adopted shortly after Russia attacked Ukraine on February 24.
Marina Ovsyannikova was reportedly detained after she staged a protest in the middle of the channel’s live evening news show on Monday. She stormed into the studio and ran behind the news anchor, holding a poster with slogans in English and Russian: “No war. Stop the war. Don’t trust propaganda. They’re lying to you here. Russians against war.”
In a brief statement, Channel One announced that an internal investigation has been launched regarding “the incident.”
Novaya Gazeta, meanwhile, quoted a Moscow court on Tuesday as saying that Ovsyannikova was being tried for violating the law on public protests, which can lead to a 15-day jail term or a fine.
In a pre-recorded message, Ovsyannikova, who is half-Ukrainian and was born in Ukraine, said she was “very ashamed” of having worked at the channel. “What is happening in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor,” she said, calling on Moscow to “immediately stop the fratricidal war.”
In his daily video address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Ovsyannikova for “attempting to tell the truth.”
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov described Ovsyannikova’s actions as “hooliganism,” adding that the matter was “not on our agenda.”
Moscow attacked its neighbor following a seven-year standoff over Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics in Donetsk and Lugansk. The German- and French-brokered protocols had been designed to regularize the status of the breakaway regions within the Ukrainian state.
Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev says the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two rebellious republics by force.