Speculation that Russian television hosts fled to Israel after he criticized the Ukrainian war

Ivan Urgant, the host of Russia’s most popular late-night talk show, was called the Russian version of American television host Jimmy Kimmel and is believed to have fled to Israel with his family after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I am.

Urgant’s talk show, which has been airing daily on Russia’s state channel 1 since 2012, was discontinued on February 21, just three days before Russian troops invaded Ukraine.

On February 24, a popular comedian posted a pitch-black square on his Instagram account, followed by more than 10 million people in Russian with the caption “Fear and Pain. No War.” -War protests across Russia.

The timing of the canceled show is noticeable, but the Russian state broadcaster rejected allegations that Urgant’s talk show was canceled because of his view. According to a statement released by the channel, the Urgant program will be “temporarily” discontinued and news-related broadcast times.

Whatever the reason behind the canceled show, Russian media reportedly retain Israeli citizenship, a Jewish comedian with his family for fear of possible state persecution. I presume that he fled to Israel.

Immediately after Moscow invaded Ukraine, Russian authorities threatened journalists and independent media, with serious consequences if their statements and reports of the invasion deviated from the official story directed by the Kremlin.

Violations of these conditions can result in imprisonment of 3 to 15 years, depending on the outcome of the information shared.

Israeli Channel 12 reports that the BBC Russia tried to call his cell phone in an attempt to find a popular TV host, but reached a voicemail message in Hebrew.

Urgant and his family reportedly arrived in Israel a few days ago.

According to Channel 12, Urgant previously visited Israel as part of his work, recording his life in a Jewish state inhabited by more than one million Russian-speaking Israelis.

In 2020, he hosted the Israeli pop singer Netta Barzilai at his show.

Urgant himself has neither confirmed nor denied reports of his expected trip to Israel.

In response to rumors of his sudden disappearance, he posted a photo of himself with a caption on Friday: “Don’t panic. They sent me on vacation, but I’ll be back soon. I will come. “

Urgant is not the only Russian celebrity who has spoken publicly against the war in Ukraine. Others include pop star Valerie Melaze, television presenter Xenia Sobchak, comedian and television presenter Maxim Garkin, and comedian Alexander Gudkov.

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