Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova flees house arrest condemns Putin war

In her first remarks since fleeing pretrial house arrest earlier this week, Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova said she considers herself “completely innocent” and issued a call for Russian President Vladimir Putin to be isolated from society and put on trial.

“Since our state refuses to comply with its own laws, I refuse to comply with the measure of restraint imposed on me in the form of house arrest, and I release myself from it as of September 30, 2022,” Ovsyannikova posted to Telegram from an undisclosed location Wednesday.

“Respected employees of the Federal Penitentiary Service, put such a bracelet on Putin,” she said in a video, referring to the electronic tracking device she has been forced to wear on her ankle by Russian officials. “It is he who must be isolated from society not me, and he should be tried for the genocide of the people of Ukraine and for the fact that he destroys the male population of Russia en masse.”

Ovsyannikova, a former editor on Russian state-owned Channel 1 television, made international headlines earlier this year after bursting onto the set of the channel’s flagship news program holding a poster that read “stop the war.” Her protest was widely hailed as a dangerous act of resistance as Russia moved to crack down on critics and public displays of dissent amid its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian journalist who protested Ukraine war on air escapes house arrest

On Wednesday, Ovsyannikova once again urged Russians not to believe government lies, saying that she had been targeted for simply telling the truth. After Russia’s February invasion, media access was swiftly blocked and Moscow banned what it deemed to be “fake” news of its assault on Ukraine. Russia’s media clampdown has forced many journalists to flee the country.

Russia has fined Ovsyannikova twice for the offense of discrediting its military and in August placed her under a two-month house arrest on charges of spreading fake news about the military, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years.

It remains unclear how she managed to escape, along with her 11-year-old daughter. Ovsyannikova did not respond to calls and text messages from The Washington Post in recent days.

Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband first reported to authorities on Saturday that she was missing, Russian media reported. Igor Ovsyannikov told the pro-Kremlin RT network that he did not know where his ex-wife was, but that his daughter did not have a passport.

Ovsyannikova’s remarks came as Putin signed a document formalizing the annexation of four regions of Ukraine, a breach of international law. Despite the move, Ukrainian troops are making a “fast and powerful advance” in the country’s south and liberating “dozens of settlements” from Russian control, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Natalia Abbakumova contributed to this report.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The latest: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed decrees Friday to annex four occupied regions of Ukraine, following staged referendums that were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.

The response: The Biden administration on Friday announced a new round of sanctions on Russia, in response to the annexations, targeting government officials and family members, Russian and Belarusian military officials and defense procurement networks. President Volodymyr Zelensky also said Friday that Ukraine is applying for “accelerated ascension” into NATO, in an apparent response to the annexations.

In Russia: Putin declared a military mobilization on Sept. 21 to call up as many as 300,000 reservists in a dramatic bid to reverse setbacks in his war on Ukraine. The announcement led to an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly men who were subject to service, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.

The fight: Ukraine mounted a successful counteroffensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled cities and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war and abandoned large amounts of military equipment.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.

How you can help: Here are ways those in the US can support the Ukrainian people as well as what people around the world have been donating.

Read our full coverage of the Russia-Ukraine war. Are you on Telegram? Subscribe to our channel for updates and exclusive videos.

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