A NEWS editor at a Russian TV station has been thanked by the Ukrainian president after interrupting a live broadcast to stage an anti-war protest.

Marina Ovsyannikova held up a homemade poster behind a Channel One news anchor during an evening news bulletin. The sign said “no war” in English across the top, with a message in Russian below calling on people not to believe Russian propaganda.

The moment was an astonishing act of bravery in a country where independent media has been blocked or shuttered and it has become illegal to contradict the government’s narrative of the war.

Within seconds of Ovsyannikova jumping on screen, the news programme cut away to another scene.

According to FT Moscow Bureau chief Max Seddon, Ovsyannikova’s whereabouts were unknown on Tuesday morning following reports she was arrested.

Russia’s state TV regularly amplifies the government line that says troops entered Ukraine to save people from “neo-Nazis” and to defend Russians from a country that was preparing to attack. The invasion of Ukraine is being characterised in Russia as a “special military operation”.

An independent human rights group that monitors political arrests identified Ovsyannikova. The group, OVD-Info, posted on its website that she had been taken into police custody.

Ovsyannikova also spoke out against the war in a video on OVD-Info’s website.

“What is going on now is a crime,” she said. “Russia is an aggressor country and Vladimir Putin is solely responsible for that aggression.”

Reports from Russia claim Ovsyannikova is going to be charged with “publicly spreading knowingly false information about the Russian armed forces” – an offence that carries a potential prison sentence of 15 years.

Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov branded the protest "hooliganism" and said the incident would be dealt with by law enforcement and Channel One.

Speaking in a video address early on Tuesday, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy praised Ovsyannikova.

In a video address, he said: “I am grateful to those Russians who do not stop trying to convey the truth … And personally to the woman who entered the Channel One studio with an anti-war poster.”

People in Russia have limited access to information from outside their country.

Russian president Vladimir Putin recently signed into law a measure that criminalises the spread of information that is considered by the Kremlin to be “fake” new media outlets and individuals who publish information that deviates from Putin’s narrative are being targeted.

There have been blocks imposed on the BBC, the US government-funded Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and Latvia-based website Meduza.

Russia has also blocked social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.