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Journalist Goes Missing After Protesting Ukraine’s Invasion on Live Russian TV

Periodista rusa que protestó contra la guerra en televisión está desaparecida

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The whereabouts of journalist Maria Ovsianikova—who on Monday stormed the set of a Russian TV channel with a poster against the invasion of Ukraine—remain unknown, reported Tuesday the portal OvdInfolive, an NGO defending those detained by protests in Russia.

According to this portal, the journalist may be charged with a crime of “falsehood” in connection with the actions of the Russian army, covered by the criminal code of the Russian Federation and claims that, under the reform approved by the Duma last March 4, she could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov today called Ovsianikova’s attitude a hooligan: “As for this woman, it is an act of hooliganism. The channel and the respective agencies are investigating it.”

Ovsianikova, a journalist for Russian TV Channel 1, broke into the live broadcast of the evening news program Vremya yesterday shouting proclamations and brandishing a sign against the Ukrainian war, after which she was detained.

“No war. Put an end to the war. Don’t believe the propaganda. They are lying to you here. Russians against war,” read the banner wielded by the journalist.

Simultaneously, the journalist shouted several times in the middle of the broadcast “stop the war” and “no to war.”

The channel, one of Russia’s main state television channels, confirmed the incident and opened an investigation into what it called an “accident with an intruder.”

More than 15,000 people have been detained in Russia since the invasion of Ukraine began twenty days ago.

The journalist stated in a message on social networks, before carrying out her protest action, that what was happening in Ukraine was “a real crime” and that Russia was “the aggressor.”

“And the responsibility for this crime lies only on the conscience of one person, and that person is Vladimir Putin,” she said.

“Russia must immediately stop the fratricidal war so that our closely united people can still reconcile,” the journalist said in her message broadcast on social networks and posted on her Twitter account by the opposition portal OvdInfolive.

Another journalist, Lilia Gildeeva, who had worked at the channel since 2006, left Russia and wrote a resignation letter from abroad. “At first I left, I was afraid that they would simply not let me go, then I wrote a statement,” Gildeeva said in her message, which she gave today to Russian blogger Ilya Varlamov.

Gildeeva had worked at the channel since 2006 and in the past her professional career was recognized by Russian President Vladimir Putin himself.

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