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Russian journalist who staged anti-war protest on live TV appears in Moscow court

She was earlier reported missing by lawyers who said they had been searching for her all night.

Ovsyannikova in court with lawyer Anton Gashinsky

Neil Fetherstonhaugh

A Russian journalist who made headlines worldwide after she burst onto a live TV news programme to protest against the war in Ukraine has appeared in a Moscow court.

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at state-controlled Channel 1, was detained after she ran on to the set on Monday holding an anti-war sign.

She was earlier reported missing by lawyers who said they had been searching for her all night.

She has been charged with organising an unauthorised public event which could be punished with a fine, community service or up to 10 days in jail.

There were fears she would be prosecuted under a more serious, new criminal law that bans calling Russia's military action in Ukraine an "invasion" or spreading "fake news" about the conflict.

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An image circulated widely on Russian media appeared to show Ms Ovsyannikova in court with lawyer Anton Gashinsky.

CNN France tweeted: "Russian journalist and anti-war protester #MarinaOvsyannikova was retrospectively seen in a Moscow court, according to one of her advocates."

Before her protest, Ovsyannikova also released a pre-recorded video via the OVD-Info human rights group in which she expressed her shame at working for Channel One and spreading “Kremlin propaganda".

“Regrettably, for a number of years, I worked on Channel One and worked on Kremlin propaganda, I am very ashamed of this right now," she had said

"Ashamed that I was allowed to tell lies from the television screen. Ashamed that I allowed the zombification of the Russian people. We were silent in 2014 when this was just beginning. We did not go out to protest when the Kremlin poisoned [opposition leader Alexei] Navalny.

“We are just silently watching this anti-human regime. And now the whole world has turned away from us and the next 10 generations won’t be able to clean themselves from the shame of this fratricidal war."

Wearing a necklace in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag, Ovsyannikova said in her video statement that her father is Ukrainian and her mother is Russian

“What is happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor,” she said.

“The responsibility of this aggression lies on the shoulders of only one person: Vladimir Putin."

She urged fellow Russians to join anti-war protests in order to bring an end to the conflict.

“Only we have the power to stop all this madness. Go to the protests. Don’t be afraid of anything. They can’t imprison us all."

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy applauded the protest in a video address on Monday night.

He said: “I’m thankful to those Russians who don’t stop trying to deliver the truth, who are fighting against disinformation and tell real facts to their friends and families, and personally to that woman who went in the studio of Channel One with an anti-war poster.”

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