Marina Ovsyannikova Worried for Her Children After Slamming 'Putin's War'

Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova said Sunday that she is "very worried" for the safety of her children following her anti-war protest during a Russian newscast last week.

Last Monday, she held up a sign urging Russian citizens to not believe the government's propaganda about the ongoing war with Ukraine. Her protest drew international attention and praise, as the Russian government is cracking down on dissent.

During an interview with ABC News, she acknowledged that she worries "for the safety of my children" after she declined asylum from the French government. French President Emanuel Macron offered her asylum, pledging to "launch diplomatic efforts aiming to offer [her] protection," according to French media outlet France 24.

However, she explained her decision to turn his offer down, while noting that she was "very grateful."

"I have publicly refused to take political asylum in France because I am a patriot," she said. "I don't want to immigrate and lose another 10 years of my life to assimilate in some other country."

She also explained why she decided to publicly speak up against "Putin's war," saying many Russian citizens are against the invasion and that many people she knows could not believe "that this gruesome war could take place."

"This protest was a spontaneous decision for me to go out live on air. But the dissatisfaction with the current situation for many years, because the propaganda on our state channels was becoming more and more distorted," she said.

The journalist also called for "every person who has a civil position who wants to make that civil position known [to] speak up."

After her protest, Ovsyannikova, who also recorded a video on social media denouncing the war, spent 14 hours being questioned by Russian authorities and was fined 30,000 rubles, which is about $290.

In total, she could face up to a 15-year prison sentence after the Russian parliament recently passed legislation banning media from "discrediting" the Russian military. The law also bans media from using the words "invasion" or "assault" to describe the war. She was charged with "organizing an unauthorized public event," but pleaded not guilty during a court appearance.

Independent media groups and other protesters have still spoken out against the war, but face prosecution from the Russian government. More than 15,000 anti-war protesters have been detained since the invasion began in February, according to the independent monitoring group OVD-Info.

Authorities in Russia, meanwhile, have accused Western media of promoting propaganda. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said during a press briefing last week that "the Western media are forming an absolutely distorted picture of current events."

Marina Ovsyannikova worries for children's safety
Russian state TV editor Marina Ovsyannikova, seen above holding a sign in protest of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, said she is “very worried” for the safety of her children after the protest.  -/AFP via Getty Images