Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova flees house arrest condemns Putin war

In her first remarks since escaping house arrest earlier this week, Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova said she considers herself “completely innocent” and called for social isolation and justice for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“Since our state refuses to comply with its own laws, I refuse to comply with the coercive measure imposed on me in the form of house arrest and I am released from it effective September 30, 2022,” Ovsyannikova wrote on Telegram from an unknown location Wednesday.

“Dear Federal Prison Service employees, put such a bracelet on Putin,” she said in a video, referring to the electronic tracking device that Russian officials forced her to wear on her ankle. “It is he who needs to be isolated from society, not me, and he should be brought to justice for the genocide of the people of Ukraine and for the fact that he is destroying the male population of Russia en masse.”

Ovsyannikova, a former editor of Russian state television Channel 1, made international headlines earlier this year after storming the set of the channel’s flagship news program with a placard that reads “Stop the war.” Their protest was widely hailed as a dangerous act of defiance as Russia attempted to crack down on critics and public dissent during its invasion of Ukraine.

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Russian journalist who protested Ukraine air war escapes house arrest

On Wednesday, Ovsyannikova again urged Russians not to believe the government’s lies, saying she was targeted for simply telling the truth. After February’s Russian invasion, media access was quickly blocked and Moscow banned what it saw as “fake” news about its attack on Ukraine. The Russian media crackdown has forced many journalists to flee the country.

Russia has twice fined Ovsyannikova for offenses of discrediting its military and in August placed her under two months’ house arrest, punishable by up to 10 years in prison, for spreading fake news about the military.

How she escaped with her 11-year-old daughter is still unclear. Ovsyannikova has not responded to calls and texts from The Washington Post for the past few days.

Ovsyannikova’s ex-husband first reported on Saturday that she was missing, Russian media reported. Igor Ovsyannikov told pro-Kremlin RT broadcaster he doesn’t know where his ex-wife is, but his daughter doesn’t have a passport.

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Ovsyannikova’s comments 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 “swift and powerful advance” in the south of the country, liberating “dozens of settlements” from Russian control, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.

Natalia Abbakumova contributed to this report.

War in Ukraine: What you need to know

The newest: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday signed decrees annexing four occupied regions of Ukraine after staged referenda were widely denounced as illegal. Follow our live updates here.

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

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In Russia: Putin on September 21 declared a military mobilization to call up up to 300,000 reservists in a dramatic attempt to reverse setbacks in his war against Ukraine. The announcement prompted an exodus of more than 180,000 people, mostly conscript men, and renewed protests and other acts of defiance against the war.

The fight: Ukraine launched a successful counter-offensive that forced a major Russian retreat in the northeastern Kharkiv region in early September, as troops fled towns and villages they had occupied since the early days of the war, leaving behind large amounts of military equipment.

Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground since the war began – here is some of their most impressive work.

How can you help: Here are ways people in the US can support the people of Ukraine, as well as what people around the world have donated.

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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