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The Russian TV protester has left the channel and rejected his asylum offer

War in Ukraine: A Russian journalist was arrested and a court quickly fined him 30,000 rubles. (File)

Paris:

A Russian editor protested against Moscow’s military action in Ukraine in a state television news program on Thursday, saying he was quitting his job but not accepting France’s asylum offer, calling himself a “patriot.”

Marina Ovsyannikova, the editor of Channel One, entered the newsroom of the iconic Vremya (Time) news program on Monday with a sign saying “No war” in her hand.

He was arrested and fined 30,000 rubles (260 euros) by a Moscow court. But despite being released, he could face further trial, risking a prison sentence of years under new draconian laws.

He told France 24 TV in Moscow on Thursday that he had “delivered all the documents” to leave the Good Channel on Thursday. “It’s a legal proceeding,” he said.

Ovsyannikova, who has two young children, said she “broke our family’s life with this gesture,” her son especially showing anxiety.

“But we need to end this fraternal war so that this madness does not turn into a nuclear war. I hope that when my son is older he will understand why I did this,” he said.

Earlier in the week, French President Emmanuel Macron offered asylum or other consular protection to Ovsyannikova, saying he would explain his case to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

But Ovsyannikova told Der Spiegel in Germany in an interview published on Thursday that she would not accept his offer and would stay in Russia.

“I don’t want to leave our country. I’m a patriot, my son even more so. We don’t want to leave in any way, we don’t want to go anywhere,” he said.

He told Der Spiegel that he was only prepared for his action, but that he believed that many colleagues would accept him in private.

“Most people who work for state television have a very good understanding of what’s going on. They know full well that they’re doing something wrong,” he said.

He told France 24 that some of his colleagues had resigned but many were unable to do so.

“I am glad that people gave their notice, but the economic situation is very tough and it is very difficult for people to stop working,” he said.

Freedom of the press activists outside Russia accuse his state television of portraying the distorted image of the war as a distortion of what the Kremlin calls a “special military operation.”

In Russian, Ovsyannikova’s first-hour air message read: “Stop the war. Don’t believe propaganda. They’re lying to you here.”

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a union feed.)

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