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Russian TV protest journalist refuses Macron’s offer of protection

The French president offered Marina Ovsyannikova asylum on Tuesday after she protested the Ukraine war on live TV, but she has said she will not leave Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday (March 15) he would ‘initiate diplomatic steps’ to help the journalist who protested on Russian state TV Pic: 360b / Shutterstock

The journalist who protested Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on live Russian TV has turned down French President Emmanuel Macron’s offer of protection. 

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Russia’s state TV Channel One, ran into the shot of a live news bulletin holding up an anti-war protest sign on Monday (March 14). 

Mr Macron, speaking on Tuesday, said France would “initiate diplomatic steps” to offer her protection, either at the French embassy in Russia or through the asylum system. 

Read more: Macron offers asylum to Russian TV editor who protested Ukraine war

But Ms Ovsyannikova has said that she has no plans to leave Russia. 

“I am a patriot, my son is even more so. We don't want to leave under any circumstances, we don't want to go anywhere," she said in an interview with German news magazine Der Spiegel on Wednesday (March 16). 

She was taken into custody after her protest on TV and questioned for 14 hours, the BBC reported. 

She was fined 30,000 rouble (approximatively €260), although this fine was related to an earlier video she had posted in which she urged Russian people to protest against the war in Ukraine. 

It is not clear if she will face further legal action for the televised protest. 

Earlier this month, Russia introduced new legislation imposing prison sentences or large fines on people found guilty of publishing “knowingly false information” about the military. 

Ms Ovsyannikova said that she planned her TV protest alone, without telling her friends or family and described it as “above all a pacifist action”. 

“It is in the interest of Russia and the world to end this war as soon as possible,” she said.

“I also wanted to show that the Russians are also against this war, which many people in the West do not understand. The majority of intelligent and educated people here are against this war.

She also said that many people working for Russia’s state media organisations are aware of what is going on. 

“They know only too well that they are doing something wrong. They are not committed propagandists, often anything but,” she said. 

“They are constantly struggling internally between their work and their own moral compass.

“But [my] colleagues have to feed their families, they know that in the current political climate they will not find another job.”

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