Filmed yesterday in Belgrade, Serbia.
But can you believe that I’m here in Serbia, filming the result of NATO actions here 18 years ago – and it’s still news! People don’t know about this, it wasn’t in our media. Yesterday, I filmed about Militsa Rakich, 3-year-old victim of a NATO cluster bomb, and what do you get when you google her?
Almost nothing – actually the top results are the tweets I posted yesterday! And yesterday, here in Serbia, I filmed an interview with the father of 3-year-old Militsa Rakich, by Belgrade. She was in the bathroom, when, on the 17th April 1999, her home was struck by a (forbidden) NATO cluster bomb. She was wounded in the head, and died in her own home.
Last week, we marked the second anniversary of the murder of journalist Oles Buzina, in Kiev. Although the culprits are widely known, and known as Ukrainian nationalists, because this is Ukraine, there’s been no attempt to bring them to justice.
Moreover, because of the west’s desire to cover up that which happens in Ukraine and doesn’t suit the ‘Ukraine is good, Russia is bad‘ narrative, there’s been little coverage of the Buzina case in western media.
Ukrainians, pro-Ukrainian can usually be found occupying the moral highground, happy to bask in a world much believing all the above rhetoric about Russia, and Ukraine’s poor, put-upon people, only wanting their own land etc etc (the line endlessly pumped out by their government, and oft-repeated in the media).
But what if it’s really not like that at all? I’m an independent journalist, covering the Ukraine situation for over 3 years. And because I haven’t taken the ‘pro-Ukrainian’ side (I’ve reported facts), I’ve become a ‘hate figure’ for many in Ukraine (and I’m officially banned from there, for life, as I understand.)
I accept that sometimes my work can push some boundaries, but, I never go through them, in general always try to be a decent person. And, yet, it took me just a few minutes to assemble these tweets, and comments, sent to me, in English, by ‘pro-Ukrainians’, as they’d call themselves, thousands even (no exaggeration) more in Russian, Ukrainian, of course. Just 10 here, to get started!
So, let’s have a look and see how pro-Ukrainians respond to a journalist whose work they don’t like:
After anyone is killed, or dies, I will get a swathe of messages from pro-Ukrainians wishing me the same.
So there we have it, pro-Ukrainian attitudes to a journalist they don’t like.
Yesterday, shortly after 11am local time, an OSCE member, male, paramedic was killed in the Lugansk People’s Republic, near the small village of Pryshyb, and two injured, as their armoured vehicle went over a landmine. Initial reports that the victim was British, were later found not to be case, two OSCE female members were injured – one German, female, one Czech, male, (both reported as now having been discharged from hospital).
Of course, from the start, attempt to vilify the Lugansk People’s Republic for this, with Ukrainian propaganda publication the Kyiv Post doing that, citing Ukraine’s advisor to Ministry of Internal Affair, Anton Gerashchenko, blaming Russia, Gerashchenko always on hand with a quote about the ‘evils’ of Russia, and the People’s Republics of Donbass – while himself running the Myrotvorets site, arranging bounties to kill ‘separatists’ and on.
However, the OSCE convoy had in fact deviated from main roads, and gone down sideroads. Why it did this, who knows, but it did, and has resulted in the first death of an OSCE worker since war began in Donbass, over 3 years ago.
The death has brought mass attention from the media, and drawn comment from everyone from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, to German PM Angela Merkel. Austria’s Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz, pictured, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the 57-nation OSCE, demanded a thorough investigation, adding that those responsible ‘would be held accountable’. All of which is way, way more attention than is ever given to the thousands of civilian deaths in Donbass caused by Ukrainian shelling.
More, the amount of times I’ve personally witnessed the OSCE either ignore, or actually even cover up for the Ukrainian shelling which has taken the lives of thousands of Donbass civilians now –
But it seems the life of one OSCE worker is an international incident, the lives of thousands of Donbass civilians, seemingly, hardly worth a mention.
On the Russia side, Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, has called for a full, transparent investigation into the incident. Russia has stated it believes the incident to be a ‘provocation’.
Who did it, will indeed hopefully be ascertained. But that there are Ukrainian terrorists working in the Donetsk, and Lugansk, people’s republics is well known. I even interviewed one here, last September –
In any case, I send my condolences to the family of the victim, this is a sad incident, and one which raises a lot of questions, and throws up a paradox about the value of human life.
In the last 18 months, American journalist Patrick Lancaster – @PLNewsToday – has been doing humanitarian work in Donbass. I’ve done a few videos about it:
Patrick has distributed over 65 tonnes of aid to the hardest hit areas of the warzone!! This, his most recent distribution, just the other day –
Patrick continues to do regular distributions!
You can donate via the link below or via Paypal to address firstname.lastname@example.org, to Sberbank Russia Card number 4276
8801 9017 1656 or via WesternUnion/MoneyGram to “Patrick John
Lancaster” in “Russia”.
When living in Kiev (2011, to early 2013), I used to read the Kyiv Post, the longest-established English-language newspaper, in fact the only one of real note in all that time (I worked at magazine What’s On, but that bit the dust after Euromaidan, and I’d long left by then anyhow). I even wrote some articles for them, in 2012.
Pre-Euromaidan, the paper had its issues, but it was generally a good source of English-language news out of Ukraine. Euromaidan time, the publication went full-on pro-Euromaidan, and it’s been propaganda ever since. But, don’t take my word for it, here’s 3 reasons never to trust the Kyiv Post:
- The Kyiv Post does not care who it employs, as long as they write pro-Ukraine propaganda. Their Donbass correspondent for over a year, was Dutchman Stefan Huijboom – now convicted as a conman, serving time in a Dutch jail. He was engaged in this activity throughout his Kyiv Post time – they turned a blind eye at that time, and haven’t issued any statement since his 2016 conviction.
- They employ former members of the Ukrainian armed forces, active supporters of the Ukrainian military, to write for them as journalists, click here for more on that – https://twitter.com/GrahamWP_UK/status/853876800132448256
- When they are not employing conmen or soldiers to write for them, the Kyiv Post write about Donbass on the authority of never having been there during the conflict. Check out this tweet by editor Euan MacDonald – making excuses for not having been, but still writing about it all the time – https://twitter.com/Euan_MacDonald/status/701717517350338560
The list could go on, but those 3 are enough in themselves. The Kyiv Post is never to be trusted. It’s fake news.
I’m happy to say that work with the film itself is moving along well! I also, along with Les Scott, the Brit in Crimea himself, recently did an interview on Radio Sputnik –
And you can watch the behind-the-scenes look at that here!
Lot more to come!