Putin cracks down on media and orders arrest of TV journalist who flashed anti-war message

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A court in Russia has ordered the arrest of Marina Ovsyannikova, six months after she flashed a sign on television saying the Kremlin was lying about the Ukraine war. The broadcast journalist could face a decade in prison under the rules on spreading false information approved by parliament, which came into force after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

Ms Ovsyannikova’s lawyer confirmed she had already left the country.

Interfax quoted court officials as saying: “With regard to Ovsyannikova, the court ordered her held in custody for one month and 29 days, imposed from the moment the accused is extradited to the Russian Federation or from the moment of her arrest in the Russian Federation.”

They added that the court had allegedly refused a request a few weeks ago from investigators to issue an arrest warrant.

Security forces already raided Ms Ovsyannikova’s home back in August.

She had previously been subject to house arrest for supposedly spreading false information about the armed forces after staging a one-person protest near the Kremlin.

Ms Ovsyannikova, who was born in Ukraine, said she fled as she has no case to answer to.

In March the journalist burst onto the studio platform of Russia’s First Channel television during a live broadcast holding a sign saying “No war. Stop the war.”

READ MORE: ‘Atomic bomb of water’ could be released if Russia attacks key dam

While Mr Zakhvatov confirmed they were “under the protection of a European state” he did not specify which one.

He claimed the revelation may “turn out to be a problem” for her, reported Reuters.

However, according to Mr Zakhvatov her son remains in Russia.

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