ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — A court in the Russian city of St. Peterburg has sent journalist Maria Ponomarenko to pretrial detention after she was charged with spreading fake news about the Russian military.

Ponomarenko’s colleague, who asked to remain unnamed, told RFE/RL on April 27 that the court ruled the journalist, who works for the online newspaper RusNews in the Siberian city of Barnaul, must remain in pretrial detention for at least two months.

According to the colleague, it was revealed at the hearing that the charge against the journalist was based in part on information the investigators obtained from one of her daughters, who is a minor.

Ponomarenko was detained last month near her hotel in St. Petersburg, where she was covering protests against Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24.

The charge against Ponomarenko stems from a post on social media about Russian air strikes on a theater where civilians — hundreds of whom are thought to have died in the bombing — were sheltering in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol.

Russia has denied it targeted the theater.

On March 5, President Vladimir Putin signed a law that calls for lengthy prison terms for distributing “deliberately false information” about Russian military operations as the Kremlin seeks to control the narrative about its war in Ukraine.

The law envisages sentences of up to 10 years in prison for individuals convicted of an offense, while the penalty for the distribution of “deliberately false information” about the Russian military that leads to “serious consequences” is 15 years in prison.

It also makes it illegal “to make calls against the use of Russian troops to protect the interests of Russia” or “for discrediting such use” with a penalty possible of up to three years in prison.

The same provision applies to calls for sanctions against Russia.