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«This is war.» Upon leaving Channel One, TV anchor Zhanna Agalakova called «hostages» her colleagues who stayed behind

TV anchor Zhanna Agalakova, who resigned from Channel One after the war began in Ukraine, gave a press conference in Paris, French radio station Radio France Internationale reports.

At a press conference held at the office of Reporters Without Borders, Zhanna Agalakova spoke of the reasons behind her decision to leave state television. «There was no question for me whether to continue. And there was no question of whether to call what was happening a «peacekeeping operation.» This is war. Make no mistake: this is war,» Agalakova said. According to her, she handed in her resignation on March 3, upon return to Paris from Milan, where she and her husband, a cameraman for Channel One, had been making a report on Milan Fashion Week.

The anchorwoman admitted she had «made many compromises in her professional life», «hiding her head in the sand like an ostrich.» According to Agalakova, in 2005 she asked to be transferred from her prestigious position as an anchorwoman to a position of a Paris correspondent to do less propaganda. Since 2014, however, she «could no longer avoid propaganda» and «had to look only for negative news» about the United States and then about France when she returned there, Agalakova said.

According to the anchorwoman, most of Channel One's employees are against propaganda, but «are unable» to give it up: «those who are against it have families, they have elderly parents who may need expensive medicine, they have children who go to music schools and sports clubs, they have mortgages to pay back - they are being held hostage.» Agalakova added that Russians had to face economic hardships many times: during Soviet poverty, the 1998 default and the 2008-2009 financial crisis.

Agalakova said the «blanket sanctions the West imposed on Russia first hit the middle class, people who have always shared democratic values.» «You're losing your allies in this story,» the TV host added. «You are condemning a large country of 140 million people to poverty and devastation.» Agalakova said it pained her to see signs with the word «Russian» being «removed» and bans being imposed on Russian athletes, musicians and students abroad: «You are stifling and killing Russian culture.»

Radio France Internationale notes that Zhanna Agalakova never mentioned the devastation or killing of civilians in Ukraine.

«This meeting of ours has only one goal. I want to be heard in Russia, I want them to learn to recognize propaganda and to look for different sources of information, I want people to stop being zombified,» Zhanna Agalakova concluded.

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