A Labour MP has told of receiving a death threat describing her as “Putin’s w***e” amid the ongoing invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces.
Zarah Sultana the comment was contained in an email she received which was “filled with racist abuse”.
“I am in no doubt that this horrific and absurd attack is the direct result of inaccurate media reports and deliberately misleading press comments,” the MP for Coventry South wrote in a statement.
“The environment this has created is an active danger to the safety of public figures, and threatens to narrow our democracy.”
Ms Sultana was one of 11 current Labour MPs who had previously signed a Stop the War statement that criticised NATO expansionism.
On Thursday, these 11 MPs were written to by the shadow chief whip and asked to withdraw their signatures.
All of them are believed to have done so.
Ms Sultana’s statement continued to state that the BBC was forced to apologise earlier this week after it falsely alleged that she had “suggested NATO is responsible for the crisis in Ukraine”.
She added that the original comment was “categorically wrong”.
“Like all my colleagues, I am horrified at the Russian invasion of Ukraine. I stand with the people of Ukraine and have unequivocally condemned Putin’s actions; I loathe his authoritarian, nationalist and right-wing regime,” her statement read.
“In recent days, a prominent journalist has described anti-war campaigners as ‘fifth columnists’, whilst a Labour MP seemed to suggest his colleagues were ‘Nazi apologists’.
“The Leader of the Coventry Conservatives called me an ‘agitator for Putin’s Russia’, while last night, an anonymous ‘Labour source’ was quoted as suggesting that Labour MPs were ‘a mouthpiece for the Kremlin’.”
Ms Sultana added that the accusations “have crossed the line from false to dangerous” and reflected on the murders of two MPs – Jo Cox and Sir David Amess – in recent years.
“I have reported the death threat I received today to the police and have contacted the chair of the Labour Party to emphasise to her the seriousness of ‘party sources’ disseminating dangerous and irresponsible messages,” she concluded.
Ms Sultana’s comments come after Kyiv was hit by airstrikes and fighting got closer to the Ukrainian capital.
Western officials have warned that Russia could use thermobaric weapons against Ukrainian forces if they continue to hold up their advance on Kyiv.
On Friday, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace told Sky News that more than 450 Russian troops had been killed, as a fierce resistance meant Moscow “failed” on the main objective on the first day of fighting.
Mr Wallace said it was the UK government’s view that President Putin intends “to invade the whole of Ukraine”.