French prosecutors are investigating a feared poisoning of dissident Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova after she fell ill in exile in Paris.
Ovsyannikova, 45, who fled Russia after staging an on-air protest on live television denouncing the war in Ukraine, noticed a powdery substance outside her apartment door Thursday, a source familiar with the investigation told the news agency Agence France-Presse.
She called emergency services and was hospitalized, saying she suspected she was poisoned, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.
Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders, which helped Ovsyannikova escape Russia with her daughter, confirmed the incident and said its members have been at her side at the hospital.
Christophe Deloire, the group’s director general, said the possibility Ovsyannikova had been poisoned had not been ruled out, although she was feeling better since the incident.
“We have opened an investigation,” a spokesperson for the Paris prosecutor’s office said. “She said she had a malaise. All we have for the moment is what she said.”
Ovsyannikova, who worked at Russian state television Channel One, made international headlines in March 2022, when she interrupted an evening news broadcast by showing up behind the anchor with a hand-drawn sign that read, “Stop the war, don’t believe the propaganda, they are lying to you here.”
She was charged with disparaging the Russian military and fined the equivalent of $270.
Ovsyannikova later took part in a protest outside the Kremlin in July 2022, for which she was detained and placed under house arrest, before fleeing to France with her daughter.
Ovsyannikova’s health scare comes just weeks after a Moscow court sentenced her to 8 1/2 years in prison in absentia for spreading false information about the Russian army.
There has been a slew of high-profile cases in recent years involving critics of Russian President Vladimir Putin dying or being sickened under suspicious circumstances.
With Post wires
With Post wires