Russian protester who stormed TV station with 'stop war' sign accused of being British spy

Marina Ovsyannikova, 43, has been charged with unlawful protest where she held aloft a placard that read: “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you”

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A Russian reporter who gatecrashed a state television broadcast to protest the war in Ukraine has been accused of being a British spy.

Marina Ovsyannikova, 43, has been charged with unlawful protest where she held aloft a placard that read: “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you.”

Ms Ovsyannikova had been an editor on Russia's Channel One, the platform she used to air her grievances over the war.

Kirill Kleimyonov, head of Channel One's news output, appeared on the channel's news programme today claiming she was a British spy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks about putting nuclear deterrence forces on high alert
Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks about putting nuclear deterrence forces on high alert
Municipal workers and volunteers remove debris of a damaged residential building, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 21, 2022.  REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi
Municipal workers and volunteers remove debris of a damaged residential building, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kharkiv, Ukraine March 21, 2022. REUTERS/Vitalii Hnidyi

“Not long before [the protest], according to our information, Marina Ovsyannikova spoke with the British embassy,” Mr Kleimyonov alleged.

He added: “Who among you has had a telephone conversation with a foreign embassy?

“Being emotionally impulsive is one thing, but treason is quite another. And when a person betrays their country . . . coldly, duplicitously, in return for a bonus...”

He added: “Treason is always someone’s personal choice... But you need to call things what they are.”

Ms Ovsyannikova gave her reasons for remaining in Russia in her first interview following the incident in US media.

The journalist said she hoped her protest would resonate with ordinary people, and increase hostility towards Putin's course of action within Russia.

She further revealed that she did not accept an offer of asylum from Emmanuel Macron of France, as she is a "patriot" and she harbours fears over the safety of her two children.

“I want to say to everyone, the Russian people are really against the war,” Ms Ovsyannikova told ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos.

She added: “The severe sanctions that the West is imposing on all of the people is probably a correct decision, but you must understand that not just the oligarchs and Putin’s closest circle are suffering from these sanctions.”