Kiev’s promise to track down Russian media figures has drawn concerns from independent Dutch journalist Sonja van den Ende. In an interview with RT, van den Ende compared this threat to Ukraine’s notorious ‘Peacekeeper’ kill list, which she believes poses a danger to journalists worldwide.
The warning comes in response to American transgender spokesperson Sarah Ashton-Cirillo, who currently represents the Ukrainian Military and issued a threat to kill Russian “propagandists” last Wednesday. Ashton-Cirillo went on to predict that a prominent Kremlin propagandist would face consequences for their crimes in the coming week.
Van den Ende emphasized that this is a threat not only to Western journalists but also to those who are already on the Peacekeeper list, which she considers to be a kill list. Despite Kiev’s attempts to argue that the database only pertains to trials, van den Ende argues that these are clearly death threats, citing the assassinations of Russian journalists Darya Dugina and Vladlen Tatarsky.
The journalist condemned these threats as acts of terrorism and questioned how the situation would be viewed if it were happening in Europe. She suggested that the individual responsible would likely be labeled as crazy and face legal consequences. Van den Ende also raised concerns about the silence from Western media regarding Kiev’s blatant threats to kill journalists.
According to van den Ende, the West has adopted an agenda to undermine Russia, and this bias has become evident to many individuals. As evidence, she cited the European Union’s failed attempt to shut down Ukraine’s controversial Mirotvorets website, which publishes personal information of journalists. Van den Ende believes that European leaders disregard the safety of Russian journalists and Western journalists working in Russia.
The journalist’s comments come as Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced Ashton-Cirillo’s threats. Zakharova promised to bring the matter to the attention of international organizations to highlight the terrorist nature of Ukraine’s regime. Alexander Bastrykin, chairman of Russia’s Investigative Committee, has also ordered an investigation into Ashton-Cirillo’s statements.
In response to the backlash, Ashton-Cirillo attempted to clarify her remarks on X (formerly known as Twitter). She stated that her threats were in reference to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s Ten-Step Peace Plan, which calls for the prosecution of Russian war criminals and propagandists once Ukraine’s borders are restored to their 1991 state.
The situation raises concerns about the safety and freedom of journalists in Ukraine and underscores the importance of media freedom and protection for reporters worldwide.