No reprimand for Russia Today host who criticized intervention in Crimea

Russia Today America host Abby Martin used the end of her Monday night broadcast to slam the Russian military intervention in Crimea. Russia Today/Screen grab

A broadcaster with a Russian state-owned television network appears to have broken rank and condemned the Kremlin for military intervention in the Ukraine crisis.

On her Russia Today program Breaking the Set, based in Washington, D.C.,  host Abby Martin said the decision to deploy Russian troops in the Russian-speaking autonomous region of Crimea was an inappropriate move.

“What Russia did was wrong,” Martin said at the end of her Monday night broadcast.

“Military intervention is never the answer and I will not sit here and apologize or defend military aggression.”

READ MORE: Armed men harass Global News crew, other journalists in Crimea

“I can’t stress enough how strongly I am against any state intervention in a sovereign nation’s affairs.”

Story continues below advertisement

Martin then went on to criticize media coverage on all sides of the situation, which she said was “rife with disinformation.”

The state-owned Russia Today has taken an unsurprisingly pro-Kremlin stance on the situation. Martin said that had no bearing on her opinion.

“Just because I work here, for RT, doesn’t mean I don’t have editorial independence,” she said.

Here’s are a few reactions posted on Twitter. Read Russia Today‘s response below.

Russia Today on Tuesday got behind Martin’s declaration of editorial independence and said there would be “absolutely no reprimands made against [her].”
Story continues below advertisement

In a statement emailed to Global News, Russia Today‘s press office in Moscow said the organization respects “her views, and the views of all our journalists, presenters and program hosts.

“Contrary to the popular opinion, RT doesn’t beat its journalists into submission, and they are free to express their own opinions, not just in private but on the air. This is the case with Abby’s commentary on the Ukraine.”

READ MORE: Who has economic interests in Ukraine? It’s not just Russia

But there may be one action that comes out of Martin’s rant.

She admitted to not knowing “as much as I should about Ukraine’s history or the cultural dynamics of the region.”

Her employer’s response is to send her packing — to Crimea, that is.

“In her comment Ms. Martin also noted that she does not possess a deep knowledge of reality of the situation in Crimea. As such we’ll be sending her to Crimea to give her an opportunity to make up her own mind from the epicenter of the story,” Russia Today said.

But, Martin tweeted Tuesday afternoon that she is not going to Crimea.

Martin wrapped up her commentary saying the Ukrainian people were “the real losers” in the crisis.

Story continues below advertisement

“Above all my heart goes out to the Ukrainian people who are now wedged as pawns in a global power chess game,” she said. “All we can do now is hope for a peaceful outcome for a terrible situation and prevent another full-blown cold war between multiple super powers.”

Sponsored content