A presenter with state-funded Russian television channel RT apologised on Monday after being suspended for calling for the burning of Ukrainian children.
“I apologise to everyone who was stunned by this. I apologise to Margarita, to everyone who found these comments wild, unthinkable,” Anton Krasovsky, a 47-year-old pro-Kremlin pundit under Western sanctions, said on Telegram.
Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of RT, formerly called Russia Today, during the night from Sunday to Monday announced the channel was suspending its work with Krasovsky over his “wild and disgusting statement”.
Krasovsky’s comments last week sparked an uproar on social media, after he responded to a guest talking about meeting Ukrainian children in the 1980s who said they saw Russia as an occupier in Soviet times.
These children “need to be drowned… shove them into their huts and burn them up,” Krasovsky said.
Simonyan, who has been a fierce supporter of Russia’s military action in Ukraine, said on Monday she wanted to “warn those who call for atrocities. Don’t do it.”
The Russian investigative committee, which looks into serious crimes, said it had ordered a probe into the incident after a viewer complained.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Sunday called on governments to “ban RT worldwide”, accusing the channel of “aggressive genocide incitement”.
Krasovsky had previously said on air that Ukraine “should not exist, and we are doing everything to make sure it does not.”
Accused of spreading Kremlin propaganda, RT has been blocked in most Western countries since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine on February 24.