A Russian TV journalist who staged a live on-air protest against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been put on a wanted list by Moscow after apparently escaping house arrest.
Marina Ovsyannikova made international headlines in March, just weeks after the Ukraine war started by walking out in front of studio cameras during an evening news broadcast on the flagship Channel One with a placard that read, “Stop the war” and “They’re lying to you”.
She was fined 30,000 roubles (£460) for her protest but continued her oppostion to the war. During a subsequent solo protest in Moscow, she held up a poster which read: “Putin is a murderer, his soldiers are fascists.”
The 44-year-old was then arrested and placed under house arrest in August before an expected trial later this month. If convcited she faces 10 years in jail.
Her house arrest was due to last until 9 October.
However, the state-run news outlet Russia Today has reported that she had fled along with her daughter, and that her whereabouts were unknown.
“Last night, my ex-wife left the place that the court assigned her for house arrest and, together with my 11-year-old daughter, fled in an unknown direction,” it quoted her ex-husband as saying.
On Monday, her name could be seen on the interior ministry’s online list of fugitives from justice, accompanied by a photo.
The circumstances of where she went or how she left are not clear.
Russia passed new laws against discrediting or distributing “deliberately false information” about the armed forces in early March, days after invading Ukraine.
That meant people face a potential prison sentence of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military, in effect criminalising any public criticism of the war.