Russian Journalist Who Protested War Escapes House Arrest

Russian Journalist Who Protested War Escapes House Arrest

A former Russian state television journalist whose on-air protest against Moscow’s war in Ukraine attracted worldwide attention earlier this year has escaped house arrest, according to a brief video statement released on Wednesday, in which she accused President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia of destroying the Ukrainian people and Russia’s male population.

In a written post on her Telegram social media account that accompanied the video Marina Ovsyannikova said that she was freeing herself from the two-month house arrest that was imposed by a Moscow court in August.

“I consider myself completely innocent,” she wrote, and as of Sept. 30, “I refuse to comply with the preventive measure imposed on me in the form of house arrest and release myself from it.”

In the 12-second video, Ms. Ovsyannikova, pointing at the black, court-imposed ankle monitor that she was wearing, said that Mr. Putin should be the one facing trial “for the genocide of the Ukrainian people and for destroying en masse the male population of Russia.” It was not clear when the video was filmed or how Ms. Ovsyannikova freed herself from house arrest.

Ms. Ovsyannikova was on Monday listed on the federal wanted list, but a court in Moscow declined on Wednesday to order her arrest, reported the independent Russian television station, Dozhd, which works in exile. The lack of a ruling was apparently on technical grounds as the prosecutor did not appear and Ms. Ovsyannikova was not in custody, the report said.

Ms. Ovsyannikova faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of spreading “fake news” about the Russian military, under a law promulgated at the beginning of the war. The charges stem from her one-woman protest outside the Kremlin in July, decrying the killing of hundreds of children in Ukraine by the invading Russian forces.

The charges against her are not linked to her notorious protest in March when the former editor for Channel One appeared live on air holding up a large anti-war poster. Ms. Ovsyannikova left Russia for Germany after that incident, but returned in July due to a custody case against her ex-husband involving their two children.

Her husband was quoted by Russian media as saying that she had fled house arrest with their 11-year-old daughter.

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