A Russian TV news staffer stormed the state’s flagship news show in a brave protest against the “propaganda” over the Ukraine war on Monday night.
State-run Channel One employee Marina Ovsyannikova was identified as the protester who burst onto the set of the live broadcast of the nightly news shouting: “Stop the war! No to war!”
She was also holding a sign in Russian which can be translated as: “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”
Ms Ovsyannikova pre-recorded a separate message beforehand in which she said her father was Ukrainian and she was “ashamed to be” a Channel One employee.
“What is happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor,” said Ms Ovsyannikova.
In English, her sign read: “No war. Russians against war.”
And in Russian it said: “NO WAR. Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They are lying to you here.”
While she stood behind the presenter, the protester could be heard saying: “Stop the war! No war! Stop the war! No war!”
! Russia's main propaganda "news program" tonight. pic.twitter.com/lrRVnF8LoW
— Christo Grozev (@christogrozev) March 14, 2022
The channel quickly cut to a pre-recorded segment but she could still be heard shouting in the background.
“Wow, that girl is cool,” Kira Yarmysh, spokeswoman for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, wrote on Twitter.
She posted a video of the incident, which quickly racked up more than 2.6 million views.
In the pre-recorded video before the protest Ms Ovsyannikova told the camera: “What is happening now in Ukraine is a crime, and Russia is the aggressor country. The responsibility for that aggression lies on the conscience of only one man, and that man is Vladimir Putin,” she said.
“Now the whole world has turned away from us and the next 10 generations of our descendants will not wash away the shame of this fratricidal war,” she said.
She urged Russians to go out and demonstrate.
“Only we have the power to stop all this craziness…They cannot put us all in prison,” she finished the statement.
Pavel Chikov, head of human rights group Agora, said Ms Ovsyannikova had been arrested and taken to a Moscow police station. Tass news agency said she may face charges under a law against discrediting the armed forces, citing a law enforcement source.
The law, passed on March 4, makes public actions aimed at discrediting Russia’s army illegal and bans the spread of fake news or the “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation”. The offence carries a jail term of up to 15 years.
It came as Britain bluntly warned Vladimir Putin on Monday that he would face “war with Nato” if even a “single toecap of a Russian soldier” stepped into the territory of the military alliance’s 30 members.
Cabinet minister Sajid Javid also accused the Russian president of committing war crimes, with Russian troops reported to have attacked 31 health centres in Ukraine including a cancer hospital, as well as a maternity hospital.