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Dutch journalist Sonja van den Ende in Melitopol. Photo supplied

Dutch journalist in Ukraine: ‘People are happy that the Russians are here’

Freelance Dutch journalist Sonja van den Ende spent the past few days on the road with the Russian army in southern Ukraine. The trip led, among other places, to Melitopol. “The conflict is portrayed in the West as a war of annihilation, which is not true,” Van den Ende writes in an article on her website.

Published: March 18, 2022, 4:37 pm

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    It is not a war of extermination, but an operation to – as President Putin said – eliminate the neo-Nazis and their ideology,” she added. The journalist spoke to many local residents and they almost all said the same thing: it’s all about this Nazi ideology with which they want to turn Ukraine into a fascist state and get support from Western countries for this.

    She heard from many people that the Azov Battalion in Mariupol has caused a lot of damage and was holding people hostage in their homes. The theatre, which according to the media was razed to the ground by Russian air raids, is a false flag operation, said Van den Ende.

    “The number of dead and injured cannot be verified, according to the NOS. Because it’s not true,” she emphasized.

    The journalist spoke on Thursday in the city of Melitopol with a woman who told how she lost her job and fell into poverty after the coup in 2014. When the Russian army moved through the city this month, humanitarian aid finally arrived, in the form of food and medicine.

    The Russians have also restored energy and drinking water supplies, the woman told Van den Ende, since the power had been cut off. The woman said NATO cannot be trusted and referred to the bombings in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia.

    The Azov Battalion and other neo-Nazi groups have also wreaked havoc in Melitopol, the journalist said. They were driven out by the Russians. The Ukrainian army dropped a bomb on civilian buildings on February 28. Cars and houses were destroyed and people injured.

    The media also allege that the Russians deliberately damaged the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. Nothing could be further from the truth, said Van den Ende. Residents of Melitopol told her that the nuclear power plant was not damaged. The Russians did not hurt the civilians and did not damage civilian buildings.

    Van den Ende spoke to many civilians in Genischeck, who said that the Russians did not cause any damage and did not kill or injure anyone. “People are happy that the Russians are here.”

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