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State TV Journalist Who Denounced War in Ukraine Flees Russia

Marina Ovsyannikova. Annette Riedl / dpa / picture-alliance / TASS

Former Russian state television journalist Marina Ovsyannikova, 44, has escaped house arrest and left Russia, her lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov told Russian media outlet Avtozaklive on Monday. 

"Marina Ovsyannikova was forced to leave Russia and is now safe, under the protection of a European country," Zakhvatov said.

The former editor on Russian state TV's flagship news program Vremya (Time) shot to fame around the world in March when she interrupted a live broadcast holding up a poster reading "No war, stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here," in an act of protest seen by millions. 

While Ovsyannikova's protest got her fired from her job and fined, she remained at liberty until August, when she was placed under house arrest for staging a solo anti-war protest near the Kremlin in which she held up a poster reading "Putin is a murderer. His soldiers are fascists."

Ovsyannikova was later accused of disseminating "fake news" with the protest, a criminal offense in Russia punishable by up to 10 years in prison. 

Ovsyannikova escaped house arrest with her 11-year-old daughter, who was ordered to live with Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband, a journalist for state-run channel RT, by a Moscow court on Monday. Ovsyannikova's disappearance led to her being put on Russia's wanted list, with many subsequently speculating that she had left Russia.

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