Ex-Russian state TV reporter: I quit over Ukraine war

Russian journalist Zhanna Agalakova speaks during an interview with Reuters, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine continues, in Paris
Russian journalist Zhanna Agalakova speaks during an interview with Reuters, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Paris, France, March 22, 2022. REUTERS/Noemie Olive

March 22, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – Zhanna Agalakova, until her resignation this month a journalist with Russia’s state-controlled Channel One broadcaster, said on Tuesday she quit in protest at the war being waged by Russia in Ukraine.

Agalakova, a former Channel One newsreader who at the time of her resignation was the station’s correspondent in Paris, told a news conference in the French capital: “When I spoke to my bosses, I said I cannot do this work any more.”

“I left Channel One precisely because the war started.”

She said she believed Russian television was being used to pump out Kremlin propaganda, and that the authorities had for years been stifling independent media.

She said she wanted Russians to hear her message, to stop allowing themselves to be “zombified” by propaganda, and start seeking out alternative sources of information.

Agalakova said she anticipated Russian officials would dismiss her as a foreign agent, but she said she was working for no one, except in the interests of her own country.

The Kremlin did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment on Agalakova’s remarks.

Earlier this month, Marina Ovsyannikova, an editor at Channel One, burst into the station’s Moscow studio during a live news bulletin to denounce the war in Ukraine. She said she hoped her protest, for which she has since been fined, would open Russians’ eyes to state propaganda.

The war in Ukraine is the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two and has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of people forced to leave their homes.

Russian President Vladimir Putin calls the war a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine and protect it from “Nazis”. The West calls that a false pretext for an unprovoked war of aggression.

Nearly four weeks into their invasion, Russian troops have failed to capture any major Ukrainian city and have been halted on nearly all fronts, but are hammering residential districts with artillery, missiles and air strikes.

(Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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