A top Russian female news reader has been fired for allegedly trying to show US President Barack Obama her middle finger during a live newscast.
An online footage of the incident showed Tatyana Limanova showing the camera her raised middle finger, while referring to Obama
Her employer, REN TV, a privately owned channel controlled by associates of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, described her gesture as "unacceptable" and "unprofessional".
"On 14 November during the ''News 24'' programme the presenter Limanova made an unacceptable gesture that was a synonym for an offensive expression," 'The Telegraph' quoted the channel’s statement, as saying.
The channel claimed the gesture was intended to her colleagues in the studio rather than Obama.
"It had no subtext and was not linked with the news that Limanova was reading at that moment," it said.
"A decision has been taken that T Limanova cannot and will not continue to work on the REN TV channel as a presenter," it said.
Sources close to the channel had previously tried to downplay the controversy by saying that Limanova thought she was off the camera, and merely providing a voice-over when she made the gesture.