French police are investigating the possible poisoning of a Russian journalist who condemned the war in Ukraine

Marina Ovsyannikova, a former employee of Russian state television, who organized an anti-war protest live on state television and was later charged with public activity aimed at discrediting the Russian military amid the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, July 28. 2022. Photo by Evgenia Novozinina/Reuters

PARIS (AP) — French prosecutors are investigating the suspected poisoning Thursday of a Russian journalist who fled after denouncing the war in Ukraine on live television.

The Paris prosecutor’s office said Marina Ovsyannikova called emergency services and was taken to hospital after she suddenly became ill while leaving her apartment in Paris and said she suspected she had been poisoned.

The prosecutor’s office said police were examining her apartment and an investigation was underway.

Reporters Without Borders, which helped Ovsyannikova escape Russia and settle in France, said its team had been “by her side” since she sought medical care. The group, also known by its French acronym RSF, had no further information about what happened.

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Ovsyannikova, who worked for Russia’s state television Channel One, attracted international attention in March 2022 after she appeared behind an evening news anchor holding a sign that read: “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you.” here.”

She was charged with disparaging the Russian military and was fined 30,000 rubles ($270 at the time). She later organized a protest near the Kremlin in July 2022, and was detained and placed under house arrest before fleeing to France with her daughter.

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Earlier this month, a Moscow court sentenced her in absentia to 8 and a half years in prison on charges of spreading false information about the Russian military. 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 was unprecedented in post-Soviet Russia.

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Marina Ovsyannikova, a former employee of Russian state television, who organized an anti-war protest live on state television and was later charged with public activity aimed at discrediting the Russian military amid the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, attends a court hearing in Moscow, Russia, July 28. 2022. Photo by Evgenia Novozinina/Reuters

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