Ukraine's Military Speaker Threatens to 'Hunt Down' Russian Journalists
Since the beginning of the special military operation in Ukraine, Russian journalists have been targeted by Ukrainian special services, which assassinated military blogger Vladlen Tatarsky and attempted to murder Sputnik editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan.
Ukrainian military's official spokersperon, Sarah Ashton-Cirillo (formerly Michael John Cirillo), has released an emotionally charged video message on X, threatening Russian and pro-Russian journalists with violence.
Smearing and dehumanizing targeted reporters as "war criminal propagandists" Ashton-Cirillo claimed that they will be "hunted down" and then "justice will be served."
The speaker particularly hinted that "next week" the world will see Moscow's "favorite criminal propagandist" "pay" for Russia's "crimes."
"And this puppet of [Vladimir] Putin is only the first," said the Ukrainian military spokesperson.
While Ashton-Cirillo did not name the alleged victim, some Russian bloggers assumed that the speaker meant RT and Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan, who earlier received death threats from Ukrainian nationalists.
In August 2022, the Ukrainian neo-Nazi Azov Battalion* sent a letter to Simonyan saying that they had "sentenced" her "to death" for supporting Russia's military operation in Ukraine. In July 2023, Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB
) announced that it had detained members of a neo-Nazi group plotting to kill the Russian journalist.
The Kiev regime and the country's nationalist battalions are well known for suppressing the freedom of speech and persecuting Ukrainian and foreign journalists.
Ukraine's infamous Mirotvorets website maintains a "kill list" containing personal data of dissenting reporters, politicians, opposition figures, bloggers, and even children, who are labeled "enemies of Ukraine."
Every time an individual on the list is killed, a "liquidated" inscription appears on his or her photograph on the website. Those murdered include Ukrainian publicist Oles Buzina, legislator Oleg Kalashnikov, Russian journalists Zemfira Suleimanova, Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin, Russian photojournalist Andrey Stenin, Italian freelance photojournalist Andrea Rocchelli, and Darya Dugina, the daughter of Russian philosopher Alexander Dugin, to name but a few.
Ashton-Cirillo's video message has not gone unnoticed in Russia. Russian Foreign Ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, highlighted that the statement is further evidence of the US-backed Kiev regime's terrorist activities and promised to send the video in question to various international organizations.
Meanwhile, on X, Ashton-Cirillo's announcement has been largely met with a mixture of sarcasm and aversion.
"Goebbels would be proud," tweeted a netizen named Harvey Birdman in a reference to Nazi Germany's Reich minister of propaganda Joseph Goebbels.
"This is scary.... but not in the way he thinks it is," another X user commented.
"What a horrible and terrible hate speech. You should be ashamed," wrote X user nicknamed SheilaG2024.
"Sincerely, @DefenceU @ZelenskyyUa, you seem to have no idea how much Sarah's utterly uncalibrated texts and repulsive delivery is hurting Western public support for Ukraine. If the Western perception of Ukraine matters to you, take her out of this official capacity ASAP," tweeted a netizen named Timon Dias.
X user Dale Plemons was laconic: "Reported", he wrote, adding a screenshot of his complaint to the platform. The screenshot shows that the netizen qualified Ashton-Cirillo's message as "abusive behavior" and "glorification of violence."
"This transgender mouthpiece who has been used by the Biden administration is really just the last desperate gasp from a dying regime," Scott Bennett, former US Army psychological warfare officer and State Department counter-terrorism analyst, told Sputnik.
The Ukrainian military spokesperson's statement comes as the Kiev regime has failed to make progress on the battlefield over the last three months. The Ukrainian Armed Forces have intensified bombardment of Russia
's territory, but that cannot change the status quo on the battlefield, according to US military experts interviewed by Sputnik. Meanwhile, Ukrainian troops increasingly surrender, complaining about the lack of training and equipment.
"Despite Russia's attempts to make peace settlements to invite talks, the Ukrainians and the British, and the Americans have rejected that. So as a result, Ukraine has just completely destroyed its entire military and its population, and they are incapable of any sort of reasonable, rational, logical peace talks or negotiations, which means they intend to create a long-term war against Russia, a Cold War," continued Bennett.
The US security expert does not rule out that the conflict may end in the next 30 to 60 days with Russia winning. Bennett also suggested that sane Ukrainian military, who are tired of seeing their compatriots being sent by the Kiev regime to a "meat-grinder", could stand up against Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. If the conflict continues, Ukraine
would turn into a "no man's land," warned Bennett.
"And make no mistake, the West fully intends to saturate Ukrainian soil with depleted uranium rounds to ruin its potential for any fruitfulness or productivity. And as evil as that sounds. The embodiment of evil is right before you," Bennett concluded.
*Azov Battalion is a terrorist organization banned in Russia.