Russian lawmaker accused of sex harassment apologizes

Ksenia SobchakThe Associated Press
Russian TV host and presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak attends an Amnesty International picket against sexual harassment holding a placard reading "Deputies (lawmakers), we don't want you!" in front of the Russian State Duma, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 8, 2018. Sobchak held her demonstration on Thursday, International Women's day which is observed as a public holiday in Russia. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)

An influential Russian parliament member accused of sexual harassment by several female journalists has issued an apology and asked for forgiveness.

The allegations against Leonid Slutsky by three journalists include groping and making demeaning comments.

On Thursday, noting it was International Women's Day, Slutsky said on Facebook that "I am using the occasion to ask forgiveness from those of you whom I freely or involuntarily caused suffering. Believe me, the intent was not malicious."

Earlier Thursday, demonstrators including opposition presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak held pickets outside the parliament demanding the resignation of Slutsky, head of the foreign affairs committee.