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Russian Court Releases TV Protester With $280 Fine

Court fines Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova who ran onto live TV news ТАСС

A Russian editor who protested against Moscow's military action in Ukraine during a prime-time news broadcast on state TV was released with a fine on Tuesday after a court hearing. 

A judge at Moscow's Ostankino district court ordered state TV employee Marina Ovsyannikova to pay a fine of 30,000 rubles ($280) after she barged onto the set of Russia's most-watched evening news broadcast holding a poster reading "No War".

The mother of two could have faced a maximum punishment of 10 days in detention for calling for illegal protests.

The charge was based not specifically on her interruption of the news broadcast, but on a video statement she released explaining the reasons for her protest and urging Russians to take part in anti-war demonstrations.

Ovsyannikova pleaded not guilty in court, saying: "I am still convinced that Russia is committing a crime".

"These are very difficult days in my life," she told reporters after the court ruling. 

"I've spent two days literally without sleep."

She said she had been questioned for more than 14 hours.

One of Ovsyannikova's lawyers, Daniil Berman, told AFP earlier Tuesday that she also risked criminal charges with a penalty of up to 15 years in jail under new laws against "fake news" on the Russian military, introduced after President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on February 24.

In her video statement, Ovsyannikova said her father is Ukrainian and her mother is Russian and she does not see the countries as enemies. 

She also expressed regret over her work for state television, saying: "I'm ashamed that I allowed lies to be spoken from the TV screen. I'm ashamed I allowed Russian people to be zombified."

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