French police are probing possible poisoning of Russian journalist who denounced Ukraine war on TV

FILE - Former Russian state TV journalist Marina Ovsyannikova attends a press conference Friday, Feb. 10, 2023 in Paris, France. French prosecutors are investigating a suspected poisoning of a Russian journalist who fled after denouncing the war in Ukraine on live TV. The Paris prosecutor's office said Marina Ovsyannikova called emergency services and was hospitalized after suddenly falling ill at her Paris apartment Thursday, Oct. 12. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File) (Christophe Ena, Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

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

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

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Police were examining her apartment and an investigation was underway, 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.

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 rubles ($270 at the time). She later staged a protest near the Kremlin in July 2022, was detained and placed under house arrest before escaping to France with her daughter.

Earlier this month, a Moscow court sentenced her to 8 1/2 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. The scale of the crackdown has been unprecedented in post-Soviet Russia.