The RT correspondent Abby Martin, who became famous overnight for her passionate monologue against the invasion of Ukraine, has refused the broadcaster's request that she go to Crimea to report from the scene.
She also confirmed she had not been fired from the Kremlin-funded broadcaster, despite an outspoken rant against the actions of Vladimir Putin.
The Breaking the Set host from American version of the channel, had ended her show by saying: "Just because I work here, for RT, doesn't mean I don't have editorial independence and I can't stress enough how strongly I am against any military intervention in sovereign nations' affairs.
"What Russia did is wrong."
The video went viral, with more than a million views on YouTube.
In a statement released late yesterday, Russia Today's chief spokeswoman Anna Belkina told HuffPost UK: "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.
"We respect her views, and the views of all our journalists, presenters and program hosts, and there will be absolutely no reprimands made against Ms. Martin.
"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 epicentre of the story."
Except she isn't going to Crimea, at least according to Martin. Yesterday the Washington-based host tweeted that she was not going to Crimea "despite the statement RT has made."
"First I get called a "Russian propagandist" for toeing the RT line, now I am getting vitriol from people claiming I "sold out" to Western imperialism because I voiced an opinion that I believe in," she posted on her Facebook page.
"I am against military intervention. Period. And no, I am not going to Crimea."
Margarita Simonyan, the editor-in-chief of Russia Today, also posted a Russian version of Martin's statement.
"From the beginning I opposed US intervention in the affairs of Ukraine, but none of my comments never caused excitement in the mainstream," the Russian version said. "So in a sense, I'm actually sad that they caught the world's attention ONLY for my criticism of Russia's actions, because I was going in the 'right direction'."
"RT was created in order to promote the Russian point of view on world events, and my personal statement is at odds with the editorial policy. But I continue to hold the same opinions as what I said.
"In the corporate media, there is almost no criticism of corporations or American empire. That's why I work here, at RT, and it is an honour for me. Yes, RT offered me the chance to go to the Crimea to report at the scene, but I refused. Do not worry, I was not fired."
Many have commented on social media and in op-eds how Martin's speech on the programme appeared well scripted, and read from an auto cue, and there is speculation that the heartfelt speech was, in fact, a way of Russia Today to prove it is editorially independent after frequent accusations of pro-Kremlin bias.
Russia Today has humiliated Martin into having to correct journalists she's not being sent to Crimea, while pretending not to punish her.— Jeremy Duns (@jeremyduns) March 4, 2014
And in the meantime, they gained some valuable credit in some gullible fools' eyes, who now think they do have serious editorial freedom.— Jeremy Duns (@jeremyduns) March 4, 2014
"Martin’s act of pseudo-dissidence is a good old-fashioned false flag," James Kirchick, a US columnist famous for his own appearance on Russia Today, when he used a seemingly innocuous discussion of whistleblower Chelsea Manning to raise issues of gay rights in Russia.
In an article for Tablet, Kirchick wrote: "It would be wrong to conclude that, because it hasn’t publicly reprimanded or fired her for her recent comments, RT is proving itself to be an objective purveyor of credible news and information. "Suggest a correction