Russian TV Journalist Who Fled To France After Denouncing Ukraine War Alleges ‘Poisoning’
Prosecutors in France are probing a suspected poisoning on Thursday of Marina Vladimirovna Ovsyannikova who fled to Paris in the dark of the night after denouncing the war in Ukraine.
The journalist called emergency services and was hospitalised after suddenly falling ill as she left her Paris apartment and said she suspected poisoning, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
Ovsyannikova, who worked for Russian state television’s Channel One before the conflict broke out, drew international headlines in March last year. What controversy was she caught up in?
“Stop The War, Don’t Believe The Propaganda”
Last year, Ovsyannikova appeared behind the anchor of an evening news broadcast with a sign that read: “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”
She was charged with disparaging the Russian military and fined $270 at the time. In July, she staged a protest, holding up a poster that read: “Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists.”
The journalist was then arrested and put under house arrest in August before she fled to France along with her daughter in the dark of the night.
Reporters Without Borders’ Role In Focus
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) assisted Ovsyannikova in her efforts to escape a lengthy trial in Russia and potentially a jail term. It eventually helped her settle in Paris.
Christophe Deloire, director general of RSF, said the possibility Ovsyannikova had been poisoned had not been ruled out, though she was feeling better since the incident.
Even though the media watchdog didn’t disclosed any additional details, it noted its team had been “at her side” since she sought medical help.
Intensifying Russian Crackdown On Dissent
Russia describes its attack on Ukraine as a “Special Military Operation” and has prohibited organisations or the media from referring to it as an invasion or war.
Earlier this month, a Moscow court sentenced Ovsyannikova to eight and a half years in prison in absentia over proliferating false information about the Russian military.
Her sentencing was the latest example of a Russian crackdown on dissent that has intensified since Russian forces marched into Ukrainian territory nearly 20 months ago.