Russian anchor calls it quits on air due to Ukraine coverage - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

Russian anchor calls it quits on air due to Ukraine coverage

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(CNN) - Another member of state-funded Russia Today made waves on Wednesday -- not by standing behind Moscow, as the news network is wont to do, but by bucking it.

From the anchor chair, Liz Wahl closed a show -- as seen in video which she later tweeted -- talking about the "ethical and moral challenges" she faces working for Russia Today, also known as RT. She spoke of being from a family who fled to America to escape Soviet forces during the 1956 Hungarian revolution, being the daughter of a U.S. military veteran and being the partner of a physician who works at a U.S. military base.

"And that is why, personally, I cannot be part of a network funded by the Russian government that whitewashes the actions of Putin," Wahl said, referring to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I'm proud to be an American and believe in disseminating the truth," she added. "And that is why, after this newscast, I'm resigning."

Not that she would've necessarily lasted much longer, after her comments. In a statement, RT said, "When a journalist disagrees with the editorial position of his or her organization, the usual course of action is to address those grievances with the editor, and, if they cannot be resolved, to quit like a professional."

"But when someone makes a big public show of a personal decision, it is nothing more than a self-promotional stunt," said the network.

Talking Wednesday night to CNN's Anderson Cooper, Wahl said the idea she did this "for personal gain ... couldn't be farther from the truth." She said she'd "hesitated to speak on this for a while for fear of repercussion," but decided to act now based on her belief "the propagandist nature of RT (had come) out in full force" over its coverage of the Ukraine crisis.

"RT is not about the truth; it's about promoting a Putinist agenda," Wahl told CNN. "And I can tell you firsthand, it's about bashing America."

Wahl, who characterizes herself as a Filipina-Hungarian-American and RT America correspondent on her Twitter feed, became the second personality from Russia Today to defiantly, publicly challenge the government that effectively signs their paychecks.

Her resignation announcement didn't explicitly mention the crisis in Ukraine, though she mentioned it later in her CNN interview. Backed by Western diplomats, officials in that Eastern European nation claim that Russian troops have violated their sovereignty by effectively invading the Crimean peninsula.

Putin, meanwhile, has denied sending any more of his country's troops into the country, or that any of the up to 25,000 troops who are stationed there have played any part in the standoff, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency.

But that situation is central to RT's coverage, which leans toward Moscow's point of view. On Wednesday, for instance, its website featured stories with headlines such as "Kiev snipers hired by Maidan leaders," "'Cold War stereotypes': Russia condemns NATO plan" and "Questions on Ukraine the West chooses not to answer."

Two days ago, another RT personality -- Abby Martin -- referred directly to "Russia's military occupation of Crimea" while seemingly going off this pro-Russia script at the end of her "Breaking the Set" program.
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