Anti-war protester interrupts Russian news anchor live on air
Channel One, Russian state TV

A Russian editor who interrupted a live Russian state news broadcast to protest against the Russian invasion into Ukraine has revealed how she was subjected to a brutal 14-hour interrogation by the authorities.

Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at the TV channel began her protest when she burst into the studio during a live evening broadcast on Channel One and held a sign behind news anchor Ekaterina Andreeva that read “NO WAR. Stop the war. Don't believe the propaganda. They're lying to you here."

She had been arrested by Russian authorities and charged with "discrediting the Russian armed forces," The Independentreported.

Recently, new laws have been introduced in Russia which criminalise spreading so-called "fake news" about the Russian military which could see Ovsyannikova be jailed for up to 15 years.

Now, she has been released but has since shared details about her ordeal, revealing she was interrogated for over 14 hours by the authorities, hadn't slept for two days and was not given legal help nor could she contact her family.

"The interrogation lasted for more than 14 hours, I wasn't allowed to get in touch with my family or friends, I was denied access to a lawyer," she said after her court hearing where she pled not guilty to the charge of organising an unauthorised public event.

She has also insisted this protest was an act she planned alone and explained: "It was my anti-war decision. I made this decision by myself because I don't like Russia starting this invasion. It was really terrible."

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Before staging her on-air protest, Ovsyannikova recorded a video that explained her reasons behind her actions and she didn't hold back in her criticism of Russia and its leader - she was fined 30,000 roubles (£214, $280) for this video statement.

"What's happening in Ukraine right now is a crime and Russia is an aggressor country," she said according to Jane Lytvynenko's translation.

"The responsibility for this aggression is on the conscience of one man, and that man is Vladimir Putin."

"My father is Ukrainian, my mother is Russian and they have never been enemies. The necklace around my neck is a symbol for Russia needing to immediately stop this fratricidal war and our brotherly people could still make peace.

"Regrettably, for the last few years, I worked on Perviy channel and worked on Kremlin propaganda, I am very ashamed for this right now. Ashamed that I allowed to tell lies from the television screen. Ashamed that I allowed the zombification of Russian people."

"We were silent in 2014, when this was just beginning. We did not protest when the Kremlin poisoned Navalny. We just, without saying a word, watching this anti-human regime.

She continued: "And now the whole world has turned away from us and the next ten generations won't clean themselves from the shame of this fratricidal war. We are Russian people who think, who are smart. It's only in our power to stop all this madness.

"Go to protests. Don't be afraid of anything. They can't imprison us all," Ovsyannikova concluded.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky thanked Ovsyannikova for her protest during his video address: "I am grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth. To those who fight disinformation and tell the truth, real facts to their friends and loved ones," Zelensky said.

"And personally to the woman who entered the studio of Channel One with a poster against the war."

Since footage of the protest and her pre-recorded video have circulated on social media, many have also praised Ovsyannikova for her bravery in taking a stand against the Russian invasion into Ukraine.

Due to the new strict media laws, Russian news outlets such as Moscow newspaper Novaya Gazeta haven't been able to accurately report the events and even blurred out the protest sign Ovsyannikova was holding.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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