(NewsNation) — The White House has said Russian President Vladimir Putin doesn’t just want to take over Ukraine, he wants to take out the people opposing him in the country.
They are calling it a “kill list,” and it is said to include journalists and activists as well as ethnic and religious minorities.
Everyone on the list is either connected to Putin or has spoken out against the Russian president’s leadership.
Former CIA covert operative Mike Baker believes the list is real.
“Look, it’s real. Any dictator … anybody like Putin has an enemies list and Putin has just shown his willingness over the years to act on it,” said Baker.
However, directly tying Putin or the Kremlin to the deaths of opposition leaders is a difficult task.
In 2006, Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko died three weeks after his green tea was poisoned in London with the rare radioactive compound polonium.
The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Russia was responsible. The Kremlin denounced the findings.
Eleven years later, Denis Voronenkov, a former Russian politician and Kremlin critic, was shot and killed while exiled in Ukraine.
Outspoken Russian opposition leader and fierce Putin critic Alexei Navalny was mysteriously poisoned in 2020 and survived.
Former Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko was also poisoned — with the dioxin used in Agent Orange — and survived.
Andrij Dobriansky, director of communications for the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America, said this is Putin’s pattern.
“He has done political killings since right before he became president,” said Dobriansky. “So his manner of dealing with the world has been quite not just pronouncedly immoral but this is something that he has always done.”
Putin’s formative career, Dobriansky added, was working side-by-side with the German Democratic Republic (East German) Stasi, “so that is also not a good sign.”