Russian journalist who denounced Ukraine war checked for suspected poisoning

Save articles for later

Add articles to your saved list and come back to them any time.

Paris: French prosecutors are investigating a suspected poisoning on Thursday of a Russian journalist who fled after denouncing the war in Ukraine on live TV.

Marina Ovsyannikova called emergency services and was hospitalised after suddenly falling ill as she left her Paris apartment and said she suspected she was poisoned, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

Marina Ovsyannikova was a Russian TV editor who interrupted a Channel One news broadcast with a sign protesting against the war in Ukraine, leading to her arrest.

Police were examining her apartment and an investigation was under way, the prosecutor’s office said.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which helped Ovsyannikova escape Russia and settle in France, said its team has been “at her side” since she sought medical attention.

The group, known also by its French acronym RSF, did not have further information about what happened.

Marina Ovsyannikova, a former Russian state TV journalist.Credit: AP

Ovsyannikova, who worked at Russian state television Channel One, drew international attention in March 2022 after appearing behind the anchor of an evening news broadcast with a sign that said, “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”

She was charged with disparaging the Russian military and fined 30,000 roubles ($486). She later staged a protest near the Kremlin in July 2022, and was detained and placed under house arrest before escaping to France with her daughter.

Earlier this month, a Moscow court sentenced her to 8½ years in prison in absentia for spreading false information about the Russian army.

It was the latest example of a Russian crackdown on dissent that has intensified since Russia invaded Ukraine nearly 20 months ago.

Russian and Ukrainian forces fought fierce battles around the eastern Ukrainian town of Avdiivka on Thursday after Moscow launched one of its biggest military offensives in months.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said Ukrainian forces were holding their ground, but municipal officials said the Russian attacks were relentless.

Kyiv says Moscow has redirected many soldiers and large amounts of equipment to the Avdiivka area, showing it can hit back over four months into a Ukrainian counter-offensive in the east and south that has encountered stiff Russian resistance.

“Avdiivka. We are holding our ground. It is Ukrainian courage and unity that will determine how this war will end,” Zelensky wrote on the Telegram messaging app alongside photos of Ukrainian troops and of Avdiivka’s entrance sign.

Tulips bloom amid debris of a ruined house in Avdiivka, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine.Credit: AP

Ukrainian Special Operations Forces said Kyiv’s troops had “foiled the plans of the crazed enemy, repelled all attacks and held their positions”.

Vitaliy Barabash, head of the city military administration, told Ukrainian television: “The enemy does not stop storming, they come from all directions.”

Avdiivka is home to a big coking plant in the south-west of the Donetsk region and lies just north-west of the Russian-held city of Donetsk.

It has become a symbol of resistance, holding out against Russian troops who invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and helping ensure Moscow has been unable to gain full control of the region even though it says it has annexed it.

A Ukrainian soldier fires an RPG toward Russian positions at the frontline near Avdiivka, an eastern city where fierce battles against Russian forces have been taking place, in the Donetsk region, Ukraine.Credit: Libkos / AP

Ukrainian forces had been defending Avdiivka since long before last year’s full-scale invasion, holding the line against Russian-backed militants who took control of territory in east Ukraine in 2014 after Russian forces seized Crimea.

Just over 1600 residents out of a pre-war population of 32,000 remain in Avdiivka, but constant shelling rules out an organised evacuation, Barabash said.

The attack on Avdiivka is one of the few big offensives Moscow has launched in months as its troops focus on holding back Kyiv’s counteroffensive, which has made slow progress through vast Russian minefields and heavily fortified trenches.

Russia’s Defence Ministry said its forces had inflicted damage on Ukrainian forces in areas including Avdiivka but gave few details.

Oleksandr Shtupun, a spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern group of forces, said Russia saw Avdiivka as an opportunity to win a significant victory and “turn the tide of fighting”.

“Today the capture or encirclement of Avdiivka is probably the most it can achieve at this stage,” he said.

AP, Reuters

Get a note directly from our foreign correspondents on what’s making headlines around the world. Sign up for the weekly What in the World newsletter here.

Most Viewed in World

From our partners

Source: Read Full Article