Updates from the DLPR (#3) A Visit to a Lugansk ‘Gulag’ (as the BBC said).

A recent BBC article blazed

Human rights activists in eastern Ukraine say they have evidence that slave labour camps reminiscent of Soviet gulags are operating in rebel-controlled areas. A newly published report alleges that 5,000 people in the self-declared Luhansk People’s Republic are held in solitary confinement, beaten, starved or tortured if they refuse to carry out unpaid work

However, the BBC had made a few fundamental ‘mistakes’ here –

  • They’d never once visited the prison in question they wrote so much about
  • They took an interview from a blatantly ‘pro-Ukrainian’ former inmate, and took his word about the terms of his detention as gospel
  • They took the word of a ‘Human Rights Group’ based in Kiev, with clear links to the Kiev government as gospel
  • There’s no evidence, videos, photos, to back up the extremely extreme claims that they make

In my new special reportage from Lugansk, now with full English subtitles, I go to visit the prison the BBC described as a ‘gulag’ here –

A Graham Newsletter (#14) Updates from the DLPR – ‘gulags’, and more!

Hello once more!

Firstly, I’m glad to say that things have calmed down a bit since the last newsletter, which found me dealing with death threats, and more, from the Ukrainian side. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been pleased to focus more attention on work in Donbass, and less on processing a barrage of messages, online lynchmobs etc, threatening my instant demise.

I’ve been pleased to start a new series here, on this site, giving you all factual updates from the DPR, and LPR. You can read the first one here, about the upheaval in the LPR, as it was, and the second here, about the recent primary elections held here.

I’m also going to be starting another new series soon, when English subtitles are added to videos from a little back, which still have relevance, so look out for that! As for now, there are already English subs on a lot of new reportage – not to mention the videos in the above updates!

Firstly, I was delighted to present my new film from Lugansk, with Oleg Somov (who does the production, effects for my film projects), a Master Class here by legendary fighter Jeff Monson (English, or English subs) –

Also in Lugansk, I was pleased to have the opportunity to put some questions to the OSCE, at a press conference they did here –

In a world of high-gloss news production, in which news can so easily, and effectively, become propaganda, I like to take things back to basics, as much as possible. This reportage, doing exactly what western media have deliberately never done here, simply speaking to residents on the Gorlovka frontline, asking what they want (all English subs, thanks very much to Sergey Yermolayev for this, and many others) –

And this reportage, going to places other media won’t take you, to a buffer zone of the conflict in Donbass to find out exactly how it is there –

As well as keeping you updated with news, and facts from Donbass, I also like to bring you as close to life here as possible, for you to meet the people here. Here, Lakshmi, in Lugansk since 2011, from India –

And show you life here how it really is. Here, repainting Lenin in the LPR –

Here, Lugansk students –

And here, a demonstration against US, NATO military intervention in Donbass, in Lugansk –

My most recent special reportage, this, from the LPR, as a flare goes up, and a walk to Ukrainian positions to see what’s going on, and if the proposed weapon withdrawal will go ahead –

Of coure, this is the highlights, there’s been a lot more – and what reportage will come next? Well, I read the recent BBC article about prisons in the DPR and LPR being like ‘gulags’, with ‘torture’, ‘starvation’, and more. I even know the journalist who wrote it, a former colleague of mine from my time in Kiev, Patrick Evans. I also know that he’s never been here.

So, to see an article circulated everywhere, with the BBC sheen of credibility, when it’s actually just a rewriting of a report by yet another ‘human rights’ organisation, set up in Kiev to write reports damning the non-Ukrainian areas of Donbass, under the guise of forementioned ‘human rights’ organisation…. passed up the chain by a former colleague I enjoyed a friendly relationship with.

It’s an ungratifying thing. I detest lies, the BBC propaganda machine which makes them claiming someone I’d previously held in esteem. So, I went to spend a day in one of them, to report how it really is. The reality. Not a rewriting of a pro-Kiev press release by a shamefully pro-Kiev BBC, with a once journalist turned propaganda merchant. My prison reportage to come soon, photos from that here, along with much more. Huge thanks for being with me, and making it happen! 

Updates from DLPR(#2) Primaries, and Prison ‘slave labour camps’

Second in the series of updates from the DLPR about how things really are here – all my work is totally independent, funded by crowdfunding – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/

The Lugansk, LPR, primaries were held on Sunday, October 2nd. 80 polling stations in Lugansk were open, from 08.00 to 20.00. Voting was in Lugansk, and the adjacent villages of Jubilee and Aleksandrovsk. Some photos here – by Polish photographer David Hudziec –

The preceeding week saw around 30 international observers in the city, given daily excursions around museums, and sights of the Lugansk People’s Republic. These individuals were not from an organisation, and in fact the OSCE upon being asked at a press conference last week why they would not be observing the primaries, replied that the OSCE did not do that.

So it was, volunteers from across the world – France, Italy, Finland, Palestine, Israel, USA, Poland, and India, were put up by the Lugansk People’s Republic, but received no financial recompense, for taking part in an active programme, culminating in observing the primaries. Here are some of my interviews with them (all English) –

Sana, the translator – 

Inna, from Israel, here – 

Observers from Finland and Georgia here – 

Poland here – 

And, on the day itself? The total turnout was reported as 61,323 – high, given that only 34,450 were on the preliminary list to vote. Requirement to vote was a passport, local address, and those not on the list this time, were added to the database. Incidentally, Lugansk pre-war had a population of over 400,000, what it is now is open to estimate. LPR sources will claim it’s near back to pre-war levels, a more realistic assessment could be closer to 300,000.

I filmed unedited footage of the 4 polling stations I visited, the first of which I put up in English, from early in the morning –

I filmed several more polling station videos, in Russian, if there’s a strong desire, I can add English subtitles, but I do only currently have a team of 2 volunteer subtitlers, so have to select what can be done. If you’d like to join my team, please email me at – gwplondon@gmail.com

Otherwise, what to say, the polling stations were as polling stations should be, everything was in order, ordered, people who voted knew who and what they were voting for. The main vote, for the mayor of Lugansk, was comfortably won by incumbent Manolis Pilavov, with 86%, which matched what people were saying at the polls. As for Pilavov (pictured), he’s a likeable, moderate, popular city head, widely perceived to have done a good job in his 2 years at the helm, tipped to play a big part in the LPR going forward.


Back to the primaries, the count, again, organised, ordered, everything you would expect of an election count done to standard –

On from the primaries, and it was a calm week in Lugansk. The ‘main news’, as it were, actually came a long way from Lugansk, from a journalist who’s never even been here, Patrick Evans – actually a former colleague of mine from Kiev. Patrick, dutifully rewriting a patently pro-Kiev ‘humanitarian group’ ‘s report, passed on that the prisons in the LPR (and DPR) are like ‘slave labour camps‘.

That’s something that, being here myself, I’ll be looking into soon. For now, that’s all for this latest update, thanks for being with me!


Updates from DLPR (#1) ‘Upheaval’ in the LPR

I’m here in Donbass, and this is the first of these updates, to keep you up to date with what’s really happening here! All my work is completely independent, made possible by crowdfunding, you can support mere here – https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/3-months-independent-objective-donbass-journalism#/  – Graham Phillips

Those of you looking on at events in the Lugansk People’s Republic over this last week must be doing with a sense of both disbelief and ‘what comes next’…

lprJust o week ago, September 20th, leader of the LPR, Igor Plotnitsky (pictured), reported both his parents as having died in the preceeding days. The reason given was that they’d eaten poisened mushrooms, which only added to rampant speculation on the theme.

This was only added to by the following revelation, that there had been an attempted coup in the LPR. Details of that were provided via press conference, and statements, with video of the actual coup itself, as reported, yet to emerge, if they exist.

There were 3 men accused of the reported coup – Alexey Karyakin, a former senior figure in the LPR hierarchy, involved right from the start of proceedings in 2014 (here’s my video of him from that time). After being earlier cited as planning something against Plotnitsky, Karyakin was put on a ‘wanted list’ in the LPR, and headed to Russia, in April 2016. The next was Gennady Tsipkalov (pictured), another who had been involved in the 2014 anti-Maidan uprisings, which led to the formation of the Lugansk People’s Republic. Tsipkalov had gennadiy-lprbeen arrested by Plotnitsky’s announcement of the 20th. On the 24th, it was announced he had died in his cell, reported by the LPR as having hanged himself.

This announcement, perhaps unsurprisingly, sent speculation into overdrive. This was followed by similar frenzy the next day, when Ukrainian media started announcing that Vitaliy Kiselov, known by his call-sign of ‘Communist’, another activist from the early days, turned commander, then deputy minister of defence in the LPR, had been ‘killed in an LPR cell after arrest‘. The ‘death’ of Kiselov was reported across Ukrainian media as fact.

communistKiselov (pictured) was indeed in LPR captivity, detained, and accused of being complicit in the reported coup. But, on September 26th, the LPR displayed him alive, unmarked.

All of these events have led to some hysteria, about, and even in the LPR. Lies and half-truths have spread across the Ukrainian, and western, media, either slow to be corrected when the truth has emerged, or not at all. I interviewed Manolis Pilavov, Lugansk city head, on the 27th in Lugansk. He spoke about the situation, stating there had been an attempted coup, but that things had subsequently stabilised, and ‘these problems were to be expected in a new republic, as Lugansk, in the circumstances in which Lugansk is in.‘ He added that there were currently ‘many problems‘ in the LPR, but the authorities were dealing with them, and there was ‘no crisis’.

I’m now in Lugansk, and  the city is functioning absolutely normally, with no hysteria on the streets etc. Actually, there are around 30 international observers here for the upcoming primary elections, of which I’ll write more in the next update. I’m also looking forward to soon bringing you more English-language reportage from here!

A Graham Newsletter (#12) ‘Ukraine versus Graham’, and More….

Perhaps needless to say, I’m currently blocked from Facebook, this time for posting a photo of myself by the ‘I love DPR’ sign in Donetsk. That photo ‘violated Facebook community guidelines’, apparently. So, of course, that’s not in any way blatently political repression then, is it….


Well, the last few days have certainly been ‘interesting’. On September 17th, I filmed reportage interview Vladimir Zhemchugov, a Ukrainian saboteur responsible for a string of attacks against infrastructure in the LPR. The last of these had involved him laying a tripwire, which could have blown up anyone. However, it actually blew up Vladimir and his friend, killing the friend, blowing Vladimir’s hands off.

Was I rather robust with him? Possibly so, but, there’s no other way to put this, he’s a terrorist. The video, with full English subtitles, here –

And that video now at 350,000 hits, but it’s much more than just that. Things have gone a bit crazy. Have a look at the comments yourself, see just how many death threats are there…

The death threats then escalated via levels, with a Ukrainian crowdfunding appeal on Facebook to fund my assassination offering $50,000 –


One pro-Ukrainian was rather more specific, wanting my skull, with teeth intact, and a 3cm hole. Nice guys.


Things then went over to the practically Ukrainian state outfit ‘Mirotvorets‘, which posts profiles of ‘separatists’, encouraging hunts and murders of those they describe as ‘

They put a post up requesting people in Donbass to inform them of my whereaabouts, with a pretty clear intended outcome…


Now, the Ukraine government publicly states that it doesn’t have anything to do with Mirotvorets. They could hardly do otherwise, given that it’s a site which has either claimed responsibility, or at least taken great delight, in the murder of multiple journalists in Ukraine. But that very post, organising a lynchmob for me, was endorsed by senior Ukrainian political figure Anton Gerashenko


One thing Ukrainians had found, was my apartment in Odessa. I went to live in Odessa in 2013, fell in love with the city, and in October, using all my savings, completed the purchase of a nice flat, a few miles from the centre. I left there in April of 2014, to work in odessa-grahamDonbass.

In late 2014, I let the family of six, living next door in a flat half the size, start living in my apartment, for free. And things stayed that way, until suddenly my address was being splashed all over Ukrainian media, complete with documents of property purchase.

What happened next, well, a Ukrainian ‘news’ channel describing me only as a ‘Kremlin propagandist’, blind to the irony of their making a brazenly one-sided, propaganda report on me, visited my apartment, and indeed their tour of my flat, hosted by my resident neighbour Sveta, proceeded to be one of the main stories on Ukrainian news that day.

This, the piece on one of the main Ukrainian news channels, if not main, TCN –

What’s it like to see your own flat on tv, your possessions shown to a nation, dialogue devoted to which kitchen appliances you’d purchased…. like a surreal episode of Through the Keyhole. 

Going along with this, were attempts to confiscated my apartment, with Odessa officials showing up, citing a so-clearly-faked-it’s-not-even-funny email, in which I’d supposedly agreed to gift it to ‘Ukrainian patriots’ –


The author of this, incidentally, is Mark Gordienko, a ‘Ukrainian patriot’ involved in the May 2nd massacre of 2014. 

Then, of course, the Ukrainian government officially complained about me to the UK government – extract of that here –

I would like to draw the attention of the British side to the situation with continuous provocative and disgraceful behaviour of the UK citizen Mr. Graham William Phillips, who currently resides in the occupied by the Russian Federation territories of Ukraine. 

Ambassador Natalia Galibarenko, who recently caused quite a stir with the outfit she wore to meet the queen, and behaviour, continues –

In May 2014 he was detained by security forces of Ukraine on the grounds of providing support to pro-Russian terrorists in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of Ukraine and, following request from the British side, was released in July 2014 and deported from the territory of Ukraine. He has been forbidden to enter Ukraine for three years on the grounds of a threat to the national security.

screenshot-620By violating the existing border regime with the occupied Crimea he brought upon him another qualification of criminal offence under the Ukrainian legislation. It is regrettable to say that if he is found in the territorial jurisdiction of Ukraine he will immediately bear full consequences for his actions as it was in 2014. We will not hesitate to use all available instruments of international cooperation to make him accountable for his words and deeds.     

Mr. Philips’s constant and explicit support of the activities of pro-Russian terrorists in the occupied territories of Ukraine and the demonstrated impunity has caused recently a wide resonance in the Ukrainian society and media and resulted in the petition of Ukrainian and British citizens to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom to investigate and prosecute Mr. Philips to the full extent of the UK laws for his reported terrorist ties and unlawful activities in Ukraine.

Ukraine has full respect for a risky work of independent war journalists in Ukraine who broadcast truth on the ground, but we will never tolerate any pseudo journalist who undermines our national security, openly declares racial discrimination ideas and hatred, expresses support for terrorist methods and makes provocations with the only aim to spread violence.

In this connection I would like to ask the British side to take all possible measures including with regard to his travel documents to stop Mr. Phillips’s propaganda work for the Russian occupation authorities in Ukraine and for him to leave our country for good. Given that Mr. Philips is proud to identify himself as a UK journalist, his actions are shameful and disgraceful, and make no good for the UK’s image as a strong and consistent supporter of Ukraine in countering Russian aggression. By his action Mr. Philips damages high standards of British journalism.

So it’s clear – Ukraine are so infuriated by a journalist, in my case a freelance journalist, reporting a side they don’t want the west to hear, and reaching a wider audience, they’ll resort to anything to stop it. Tacit support of a bounty hunt – no condemnation anywhere by Ukraine of lynch-mobs put out to kill or capture me – followed up by official request to the country of that journalist to do everything in their power to stop him.

Well, in Ukraine’s case, and the case of that quite hysterical missive, they were out of luck. The UK has, from the start, adopted a position in support of Ukraine in this conflict. Of course, as a British citizen, and the Ukrainians are correct in that I do indeed proudly identify myself as such, I feel that’s a huge mistake. All this nonsense rhetoric about ‘Russian invasion’, and worse, Britain giving their implied backing to Ukrainian shelling of civilian areas of Donbass, with huge fatalities.

But, the UK is also a normal country. The government clearly takes a ‘pro-Ukraine’ screenshot-621position, with the recent visit by Boris Johnson to Kiev staggeringly predictably failing to make any mention of the ongoing shelling of Donbass, by Ukrainian forces. But, the UK is at least consistent. They questioned me for 4 hours at Heathrow last year, about my work, and have made it clear they won’t help me in any way. But, as Ukraine was told, nor will they do anything against me, as I’ve not broken any laws in the UK. If Ukraine want to punish me, it’s up to them.

Ukraine have then made various noises about this – aggrieved, indignant they can’t get me put on Interpol etc. And then, none of this really working, they then turned around and tried to say what I’d done had actually ‘helped’ Ukraine, by boosting the hatred of the enemy, and journalists (on that side) of Ukrainian troops. Presumably, if so, what a facepalm for them, after they’d done all of the above against me!

Of course, in this time, there have also been quite a few ad hominems written about me by the pro-Ukraine western press. Such as here, here, and on.

My own view on all of it? Well, I still think there are a lot of good people in Ukraine, I’m not against the country of Ukraine, but the current Kiev government is another story, and their actions simply can’t be justified or excused. But, not do I have any vendetta against them, I’m simply absolutely committed to reporting the truth from Donbass. And, of course, this all gives yet more motivation to my work – the reaction of Ukraine, or rather the Kiev government, shows just how much my work is hitting home. And just how much they’ll do anything to stop that. This is a government, desperate for western support, and desperate for the west not to know what the real situation is.

But the truth will get out. I’m back in Donbass, back filming reportage from here, in English, and here’s the crowdfunder to support my work, and more, to be a part of it –


A Graham Newsletter (#11) Moving on From Crimea, Facebook Ban, Back in Donbass

As you may know, I was hit with two Facebook bans in the last week, the first for writing that I’d enjoyed interviewing Natalya Poklonskaya, in Crimea –


And then, for posting a link to my reportage from the border between Ukraine and Crimea –



The blocks ratchet up every time, the next being for 7 days. Now, you can say what you like about Facebook – expect for if that’s on Facebook itself, but it’s pretty much indispensable to modern life. There are so many friends it’s hard to even contact, were it not for Facebook.

So, I have to roll with that, use Facebook for selfies etc, and other resources, such as here, such as Twitter – @GrahamWP_UK – for serious news. Now, you as a Facebook user are free to share, like, repost my videos. However if I do it, I’ll get a ban, so I do ask you to step up, and, if you like my reportage – share it around.

pat1.jpgI’ve recently returned from some 3 weeks in Crimea, the main purpose of which was to make a crowdfunded documentary film a ‘Brit in Crimea (on his holidays)’, which we did. We did that, and I believe what we filmed is absolutely fascinating material, which will, thanks to your crowdfunding support, become a real film.

As for the crowdfunding campaign, that has only a couple of days to go. Final chance to be involved in that – here –


A further purpose of being in Crimea was to do some reportage from there, also supported by the film crowdfunding project, real reportage. I’d been staggered, indignant in turn by the recent Reuters article from Crimea. So a supposedly ‘respectable’ western media organisation gets to go there, write an article widely cited all over the place, but show no evidence of anything they’ve said – not to mention a few way out-of-date photos… read the article here.

I don’t get that style of journalism, ‘he said that, she said that‘… where are the videos, in 2016, where’s the proof? Here are some of my video reports from Crimea, this, Evpatoria, as I ask people there what needs to be done to improve Crimea – (Eng subs on all) –

Here, I speak with Crimean Tatars, to see how life really is for them –

This, a longer report, as I found the man, from Ireland, who arrived in Crimea when it was Ukraine, but stayed, and has stayed, (without a visa) as it became Russia.

On my final day there,  I headed up to the border to check out what the real story is there, behind all the rumours, see how it is at the Ukrainian side of the border with Crimea –

And there are many other videos from Crimea too, with more English subs to come on them (including Natalya Poklonskaya). You can find them all here on my YouTube channel.

Of course, I’ve left Crimea now, and am back in Donbass, with quite a bit of reportage to come from here. You’ll be able to catch all of that in the next but one newsletter, as the next one I’ll be giving over to a man who has been pretty much continuously in Donbass since 2014, Patrick Lancaster!

For now, great to be back, and keep in touch! Graham

A Graham Newsletter (#10) Finished Filming ‘A Brit in Crimea’ and on!

This is the first newsletter for a little while and it’s been, with the last few weeks being intense in quite a few ways. Intense hard work, but intensely enjoyable too, the latter being as a holiday should be. And I’m really delighted to say that in a packed week, we did all the filming for the crowdfunded film ‘A Brit in Crimea – On his Holidays‘ – a sampling of photos of that, here – 
1Crim3 Screenshot (360) 1Crim7 1holssevasles1

There’s still an opportunity to be involved in the crowdfunding btw –


LesWell, the holiday was indeed a holiday – for Britisn holidaymaker Les Scott. And, for Patrick Lancaster and myself also, albeit one with the constant need to keep batteries charged, filming, files copied from cards and on. Actually I’d like to give a huge thanks to Patrick Lancaster for rolling up in Rostov to meet up with me, then coming along for what turned out to be quite a ride.

Screenshot (368)Les is now safely back in Scotland, Patrick in Donbass – doing great work at this difficult time, and well worth a follow – here. I’ve now got 150+ hours of, what is great footage, to make into a film.

The point of this film was to show if Crimea, once a world-famous tourist destination, can still be a tourist destination in the face of the western media’s insistence that Crimea is some sort of theatre of war.

It was to make a film which cuts through all the propaganda, to get to the truth of 1Crim6things as they really are. I know with the material we’ve filmed, we’ve done exactly that – many interviews with many people representing a spectrum of Crimean opinions – locals, Russians, Ukrainians, tourists, Crimean Tatars, we spoke with them all, as well as doing, and filming, all the things which one would do on a holiday.

It was an amazing experience, and my challenge is now, with Oleg Somov which whom I’ve already made 2 films – Aramis here with English subtitles – to turn this into a film worthy of its subject, source, material, and your support and belief!

It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m sure we can make a film which will reach a wide audience and make its own contribution in breaking through the information blockade, or even downright disinformation, about Crimea.

The process of putting the film together will begin when I return to Donbass next week. For now, I’m still in Crimea, filming reportage here. I’ve filmed extensive reportage about a frozen themepark, on safari in Taigan, and a fascinating interview with Crimean Prosecutor-in-Chief Natalya Poklonskaya. A few photos of all of that here –

Screenshot (372) Screenshot (381) Screenshot (393) Screenshot (396)

With the help of volunteers, I’ll be adding English subtitles to these as soon as possible!

I’ve also been very pleased to see a recent video reportage I made in Germany pass 200,000 views – showing the truth can get through to a wider audience, and it can do so only with your help!

Thanks again for being with me, and look out for more soon! Graham