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Moscow journalist who protested Ukraine war on live TV urges other Russians to speak up

WASHINGTON — The Russian editor who protested Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine during a state TV news broadcast calls for other Russians to speak out against the “gruesome war.”

While working for Channel One television in Moscow, Marina Ovsyannikova barged onto the set of an evening newscast Monday, holding a poster reading “No War.”

She was subsequently detained, fined 30,000 rubles ($280), and then freed pending possible further prosecution, but has turned down a French offer of asylum.

Today, she describes to US media her decision to protest as “spontaneous,” but says a sense of deep dissatisfaction with her government had been building for years — a feeling she says many of her colleagues shared.

“The propaganda on our state channels was becoming more and more distorted, and the pressure that has been applied in Russian politics could not leave us indifferent,” she tells ABC News program “This Week.”

“When I spoke to my friends and colleagues, everyone until the last moment could not believe that such a thing could happen — that this gruesome war could take place,” she says from Moscow, speaking through an interpreter.

“As soon as the war began, I could not sleep, I could not eat. I came to work, and after a week of coverage of this situation, the atmosphere on (Channel One) was so unpleasant that I realized I could not go back there.”

Ovsyannikova says she considered joining a protest in a public square, but saw that protesters were being arrested and faced jail time.

“I decided that maybe I could do something else, something more meaningful… and I could show to the rest of the world that Russians are against the war, and I could show to the Russian people that this is just propaganda.”

She says she hopes to “maybe stimulate some people to speak up against the war.”

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