Russian journalist who protested Ukraine war on state TV is charged

Russian authorities on Wednesday arrested a former state television journalist who had quit his job after conducting an air protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine, and accused her of spreading information. misinformation about Russia’s armed forces, her lawyer said on social media.

Marina Ovsyannikova has been accused of a protest she organized last month, calling out Russian President Vladimir Putin’s name in a banner that read: “Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascist 352 children were killed. [in Ukraine]. How many more children have to die for you to stop? “

Lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov said that if tried and convicted, Ovsyannikova would face up to 10 years in prison under a new law that punishes statements made against the military and was issued shortly after Russian troops entered Ukraine. .

Earlier, on Wednesday, Ovsyannikova’s home was raided, and she was taken for questioning. Zakhvatov said she would spend the night in a cell at Moscow police headquarters.

VIEW | Ovsyannikova’s objection was heard ‘all over the world:

Journalist with anti-war sign interrupts Russian state news

A TV editor interrupted the main news program on Russia’s State TV Channel, holding up a sign behind the studio presenter. The sign, in English and Russian, reads: ‘NO WAR. Stop the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here. ‘

Ovsyannikova, whose father is Ukrainian and whose mother is Russian, served as a producer on the Russian state-funded Channel One. She made international headlines on March 14, when she appeared behind the anchor of an evening news broadcast, holding a poster that read “stop the war, don’t believe it.” propaganda, they are lying to you here.” She was accused of discrediting the Russian military and fined 30,000 rubles (Cdn $347 at the time).

After leaving her job, Ovsyannikova became somewhat of an activist, staging anti-war groups and speaking out publicly against the conflict.

“Sadly, over the years I’ve worked at Channel One, I’ve spread Kremlin propaganda and I’m ashamed of it.” she said not long after protesting. “I’m ashamed to have let the Russians be fooled.”

She was fined twice in recent weeks for disparaging the military in a Facebook post and critical comment she made at a court where opposition figure Ilya Yashin was remanded pending trial for her crimes. spreading misinformation about the military.

According to Net Freedoms, a legal aid group that focuses on free speech cases, as of Wednesday, there have been 79 criminal cases for spreading misinformation about the military and up to 4,000 schools. administrative violation with the crime of contempt of the armed forces.

Ukraine mocks Russia’s explanation of Crimea explosion

In the latest development of the invasion, the Ukrainian air force on Wednesday said nine Russian warplanes were destroyed in a series of deadly explosions at an air base in Crimea.

Russia denies any aircraft were damaged in Tuesday’s explosion – or any attack took place.

Large plumes of smoke are shown in the distance over a field and body of water.
Smoke rises after explosions were heard from the direction of a Russian military airbase near Novofedorivka, Crimea, on Wednesday, in this still image obtained by Reuters. (Reuters)

Ukrainian officials have stopped publicly claiming responsibility for the explosions – which killed one person and injured 14 others – while mocking Russia’s explanation that a careless smoker may have caused the ammunition depot. at Saki Air Base caught fire and exploded. Analysts also say that explanation makes no sense and that the Ukrainians may have used anti-ship missiles to attack the base.

If, in fact, Ukrainian forces were responsible for the explosions, it would be the first known major attack on a Russian military site on the Crimean Peninsula, which was seized by the Kremlin from Ukraine in 2014. 2014. Russian warplanes used Saki to attack areas. in the south of Ukraine.

Crimea has great strategic and symbolic significance for both sides. The Kremlin’s demand for Ukraine to recognize Crimea as part of Russia is one of the key conditions for ending the fighting, while Ukraine has vowed to drive the Russians out of the peninsula and all occupied territories. other close.

Russian authorities sought to mitigate Wednesday’s explosions, saying all hotels and beaches were unaffected on the peninsula, a popular tourist destination for many Russians.

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An adviser to the President of Ukraine, Oleksiy Arestovych, cryptically said that the explosions were caused by Ukrainian-made long-range weapons or by the activity of Ukrainian guerrillas operating in Crimea.

The base on the Black Sea peninsula, located off southern Ukraine, at least 200 km from the closest location to Ukraine – is out of range of US-supplied missiles for use in missile system launchers High Mobility (HIMARS).

In another development, Russian forces shelled areas across Ukraine from Tuesday night to Wednesday, including in the Central Dnipropetrovsk region, where 13 people were killed, according to the regional governor, Valentin Reznichenko.

Reznichenko said the Russians fired on the city of Marganets and a nearby village. Dozens of residential buildings, two schools and several administrative buildings were damaged.

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