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2 Mar, 2023 00:22

NBC journalist added to Ukrainian ‘kill list’

The notorious ‘Mirotvorets’ database labeled Keir Simmons a pro-Russian “propagandist” for reporting from Crimea
NBC journalist added to Ukrainian ‘kill list’

NBC News correspondent Keir Simmons has been placed on the Ukrainian state-linked ‘Mirotvorets’ (Peacemaker) blacklist for “crimes” against the country. The government in Kiev has also announced it is investigating the British journalist after he filed a report from Crimea on Tuesday.

“Visiting the temporarily occupied Crimea from the territory of the Russian Federation is a violation of the legislation of Ukraine,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleg Nikolenko said on Wednesday. Violators are subject to legal liability, such as being “banned from entering Ukraine for such actions,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Mirotvorets website has published a photo of Simmons and his personal details, accusing the reporter of “violating Ukraine’s sovereignty,” participating in Russian propaganda, and “attempted legalization of the occupation.”

Simmons traveled to the Crimean peninsula by train from Moscow, across the Kerch Bridge, which he described as having been “blown up in a strategic and symbolic blow” to Russia last October, but is “now fully restored.” 

He then tuned in to an NBC newscast live from Sevastopol, claiming it was “the closest any US news crew has got to the Russian Black Sea Fleet in many, many years.” Speaking with NBC’s Andrea Mitchell, Simmons expressed doubt about US officials’ hopes that Crimea would be “demilitarized” or taken by Ukrainian troops.

Simmons also insinuated that Russia has somehow intimidated local residents, even though they explicitly told him otherwise.

The US government has not yet commented on Ukraine targeting a journalist from a major corporate outlet. Neither has the UK, even though Simmons is a British national.

Mirotvorets, which claims to be based in “Warsaw, Poland and Langley, Virginia” – the headquarters of the CIA – is a notorious website that posts private information of individuals labeled enemies of Ukraine without any process or trial. It was established in August 2014, as Kiev launched its “anti-terrorist operation” against civilians in Donbass, and allegedly maintains ties with Ukrainian and Western security services. 

“This kill list is maintained by the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior, which lists an address in Langley, Virginia, has an IP in Brussels,” said American political activist Jackson Hinkle, who was also added to the database on Wednesday. Hinkle noted that Mirotvorets celebrated last year’s assassination of Russian journalist Darya Dugina, which US intelligence has reportedly blamed on sections of the Ukrainian government.

Several prominent people were killed after the site declared them public enemies, including writer and historian Oles Buzina and politician Oleg Kalashnikov. Western media outlets mostly ignored its existence until 2016, when Mirotvorets targeted dozens of journalists and human right activists for daring to operate in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. The move drew condemnation from the OSCE, which declared it “simply unacceptable for journalists to be threatened for what they say or write.”

More recently, Mirotvorets has targeted Croatian President Zoran Milanovic, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, retired US diplomat Henry Kissinger, and rock musician Roger Waters, for deviating from the official narratives about the conflict. The US and its allies have continued to send weapons and money to Ukraine, claiming Kiev is fighting for “democracy” and “freedom.”

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