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Tipsheet

In the Sky and in Front of the Camera, Russian Civilians Boldy Condemn War on Ukraine

AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka

As Russia's war on Ukraine continues, causing bloodshed and destruction on its European neighbor, some Russian civilians are boldly advocating against Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

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Two recent examples of Russians publicly coming out against the war showed a Russian airline pilot criticizing the war during a flight and a Russian state media newscast being interrupted by one of the station's editors holding an anti-war sign in front of the camera.

A pilot for a Russian airline told passengers over the plane's intercom that Putin's invasion of Ukraine was a "crime," which led to applause from the aircraft's passengers.

"This is your captain speaking. Welcome to Antalya [Turkey]," the pilot, who works for the Aeroflot subsidiary Pobeda, said in the announcement.

"Just speaking on behalf of myself, not as a representative of the airline, I think the war with Ukraine is [a] crime. We should not continue this war, we must stop it immediately," the pilot continued.

The pilot, who delivered the announcement in both Russian and English, was lauded as "brave" by Ukrainian diplomat Olexander Scherba, who shared a video of the remarks to Twitter on Friday.

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And on Monday, a woman crashed a Russian state media broadcast to express her thoughts on the war on Ukraine.

During an evening newscast on Channel One Russia, the most prominent news network in the country, the woman ran onto the television set, stood behind the anchor, and chanted in Russian, "No to war! Stop the war!"

She was holding a sign during the demonstration that read, "Stop the war! Don't believe propaganda! They're lying to you here!" The sign also had "Russians against war" written in English.

The broadcast then cuts away to a pre-recorded news report. 

The woman has been identified as Channel One editor Marina Ovsyannikova, who, prior to her demonstration, released a video statement condemning Putin's war on Ukraine.

"What’s happening in Ukraine is a crime and Russia is the aggressor. And there is only one person responsible for this, this man is Vladimir Putin," Ovsyannikova said in Russian. "My father is Ukrainian, and my mother is Russian, they have never been enemies, and this necklace is a symbol – that Russia must immediately stop this war and our brotherly nations can still come together."

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"Sadly, I’ve been working on the First Channel during the last couple of years, have been doing Kremlin propaganda, for which now I am very ashamed," she continued. "I am ashamed that I let lies be spread on television, I’m ashamed that I participated in turning Russian people into zombies, we kept quiet when it all started in 2014, we did not rally when Kremlin poisoned Navalny, we have silently been watching this anti-human regime, and now, the whole world turned back to us, next 10 generations will not be able to get rid of the shame of this war."

Channel One said in a statement that it is investigating the demonstration.

According to Russia's state news agency, TASS, Ovsyannikova has been detained and faces misdemeanor charges. She could be put in jail for a few days but would not face prison time, Kevin Rothrock of the Russian-English-language independent outlet Meduza noted on Twitter.

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