18 + Dead Civilians by Debaltsevo – A Strange Story

Debaltsevo was liberated by NAF forces on February 19th 2015 –

By Debaltsevo, the village of Chernukhin, liberated at the same time. And a disturbing sight, NAF forces had found Ukrainian bodies left in the base they had recently left. They’d also found dead civilians there too –

The civilians showed clear signs of torture, there were different reports on what had befallen them –

* Pro-Russian civilians taken into captivity by Ukrainians, tortured then killed as the Ukrainians fled

* Ukrainian civilian ‘helpers’, killed by the Ukrainians before they fled

In either case, another disturbing story of this war.

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Arriving in Lugansk, August 2014 (Video Article)

This was August 13th, after Ukraine shelling hit the city, happening on a daily basis at that time –

I arrived in Lugansk on August 18th, the road beween Krasnodon and Lugansk was blocked by Ukrainian forces, so this was necessary –

Arriving in Lugansk was like this –

The next day, I went for a walk in the city –

‘How is life here?’, I ask ‘terrible – leave at once!!’, the woman replies.

Прибыв в Луганске в Августе 2014 (Видео Статья)

Это было Август 13 –

Я прибыл 18 августа – дорог между Краснодоне и Луганске блокированы украинских войск, это было необходимо –

Прибыв в Луганске, было как это –

На следующий день – я ходил в город –

Graham’s ‘Scandalous’ Former Blog

By Graham Phillips


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There has, of late, been a series of attacks from the Ukrainian, pro-Ukrainian media launched in my direction. Kyiv Post journalist Olga Rudenko recently took to Facebook to pen the pro-Ukraine version of my life ‘before the war’, something then run by various pro-Ukraine media.

Looking through Olga’s diatribe, I recognised certain elements of my pre-war life, but all purposefully bent and twisted out shape. I have no real feelings on Olga, she’s just one of any number of relentlessly pro-Ukraine, Kiev-based journalists. We exchanged a few messages a couple of years ago on work, that’s that.

Скриншот 24.02.2015 225038.bmpI’m a little surprised in Olga’s intense interest in me, even on her own Facebook putting out calls for further information, answering herself when no one responds. Having me down as quite a list – a ‘loser’, ‘schizophrenic’, ‘sexpat’, and then the inevitable ‘sex blogger’.

One thing the pro-Ukraine side often bring up is that I supposedly kept a ‘sex blog’. Actually, they bring it up with all the predictability of a man with a Ukraine flag parroting ‘Slava Ukraine’ before too long.

Well, about that ‘sex blog’, it’s true I kept a blog, it’s true that some of the posts were about sex –

Prostitutes and Me (Part 1 of 2)

Prostitutes and Me (Part 2 of 2)

Buying Ukrainian Students for Sex

To name 3. The list goes on, but not that much, of all the posts on my site, fewer than 10% were about the ‘s’ subject. You could find almost as many on abandoned buildings and artefacts in Ukraine –

Abandoned Dnipropetrovsk – Always Parus

Abandoned Vozdvyzhenka – Cursed in Kiev? (Part 1 of 2)

Pain of Ukraine Trains

The Bigger Ukraine/Russia Ship Dispute (Part 1 of 2)

There was also ample posting on Ukrainian history, politics –

Ukraine and the 90s nihilism (Part 1 of 2)

Oleh Tyahnybok and the Rise of Svoboda

Klitschko and Ukraine’s Love of Cars and Cash

True, there was a fair bit about my ex-girlfriend, Ira, but I found writing about Ira an enlightening way to broach broader subjects in Ukraine –

Euromaidan Destroyed Ira and Me

Don’t Call (all) Ukrainians Nazis (there’s Ira)

My blog had posts about an ongoing murder investigation –

Anna Ziuzina – The Disappearing Car Mystery

And some just about football –

World Cup Blog #4 – Manaus in the Mood

I enjoyed, enjoy writing about a broad range of subjects. I enjoyed taking an analytical look at a subject intrinsically associated with the former Ukraine, sex. I liked teasing with titles, so – Ukrainian Girls are Smokin’ – was actually about Ukrainian girls smoking. How to Pick Up Ukrainians was about hitching a lift.

Скриншот 24.02.2015 233238.bmpSo – why is the blog not there now, have I, as the pro-Ukraine side accuse, deleted it to try to remove the past, which they then crow can so easily be found by way of web archivers?

It’s more prosaic than that, in some way. My former site – http://www.grahamwphillips.com – was a premium domain, with high storage. I didn’t want to have a site in my own name anymore, letting the domain lapse would have automatically removed some of the content due to excess, so before ‘closing’ that site, I took much of it down. You can see the skeleton version at – https://gwplondon.wordpress.com/

I’ve republished some of the other posts, but why not the ‘sex blog posts’? Well, honestly, I don’t feel that’s appropriate for me now. There was a time, before the war, when you could write about these things in Ukraine and it had a relevance. Now, with war, they simply have no importance anymore.

War has changed Ukraine, Donbass, forever. It’s changed me as a person. I’m not going to republish blog posts which have no relevance either to the current context, or who I am now. In war, what matters are literally matters of life and death.

There was a time when it was fun to write about fun things in Ukraine. That time has gone. I’m not trying to hide anything in the past – all the blog posts are easily findable. Nor am I going to put them up now when they belong to a past life, for Скриншот 24.02.2015 234212.bmpUkraine and the former Ukraine, for myself as a person and journalist.

I’m not ashamed of anything I’ve written, am happy for people to read them wherever. As for people using what was previously written as a means of attack, in my case. I was never a ‘sex blogger’. I was a journalist, who kept a blog, part of which had articles on that theme.

But I also think this, that if a war comes into your life, then what you do in the war means a lot more than what you did before. Those who try to bring down a person who has risen to the challenges of war, on the basis of what they did before, are just those people who have been found wanting when the moment came.

Евромайдан – Мое Первое Видео

Гриша Филлипс

До Евромайдана, я всегда считал себя пишущим журналистом, с интересом фотографии.

Тогда, в Киеве январь 2014 год, как Евромайдан только начался, мой друг, журналист Брайан Макдональд, дал мне сильные советы, чтобы сделать некоторые видео.

Таким образом, я сделал, и он, в сыром неизмененном виде , было мое первое видео, как видео-журналиста. Многое из этого довольно шаткое, как и было сделать фотографии, с 2-х камер даже (будет опубликован в ближайшее время).

Но, видно, Евромайдан что это был. Терроризм. Взятые по тому, как сильно, что показали на видео, это видео было начало моей карьеры в этой сфере.

Euromaidan – January 19th, My First Video as a Video-Journalist

By Graham Phillips

Prior to Euromaidan, I’d always considered myself a print journalist, with an interest in photography.

Then, in Kiev in January of 2014, as Euromaidan was kicking off, my friend, journalist Bryan MacDonald, gave me strong advice to do some video.

So, I did, and here it is, in raw, unedited form, my first video as a video journalist. Much of it pretty shaky as was also taking photos, with 2 cameras even (to be published soon).

But, clear to see Euromaidan for what it was. Terrorism. Taken by how strongly that showed up on video, this video was the start of my career in that sphere.

Euromaidan Goes Mad

By Graham Phillips, originally published on 13th February 2014 – (see below) – 

Mental health in Ukraine is an ever-sensitive subject given the country’s deficient 1Euromaidansystem for diagnosis and treatment. However, there have lately been worrying some worrying signs of mental health issues coming to the fore at Euromaidan. 3 months in the cold, sometimes freezing, with poor hygiene and sanitation conditions – that perhaps due to many protesters having destroyed many of the porta-toilets provided to deploy in ‘warfare’. It’s all clearly having an effect.

Take the kidnapping accounts of Euromaidan – confused from the start, characterised by contradiction and change of detail with each retelling. Take Igor Lutsenko, who on January 21st first came out with: “I climbed out of the forest where my kidnappers threw me and am in a good mood, without a mobile phone and in average condition. Nothing serious, but being with kidnappers for 15 hours was very hard, morally and physically…. After several hours in the garage, Lutsenko said he was taken farther out into the woods where he was told to kneel against a tree and pray, in an apparent mock execution. At that point his abductors disappeared and he staggered out of the forest, almost fainting at times.

1Euromaidan2By January 31st, Lutsenko, pictured, seemed to have become a bit disorientated, now saying: “That’s when 10 hours of intimidation and beating in this box of torture started,” Mr Lutsenko told the Financial Times, describing the abduction as “very professional”. The men’s hands and legs were bound, plastic bags were placed over their faces and their assailants, Mr Lutsenko said, “tried to beat out of us information about who was financing the protests, who the decision makers were. Left with a concussion, bleeding internally and his teeth knocked out, Mr Lutsenko was eventually dumped on a remote road in sub-zero temperatures. A passing driver picked him up a few hours later. “I was incredibly lucky,” he sighed.” One account has Lutsenko escaping, to find Facebook access in a nearby village.

Undated picture of Yury VerbitskyNow, of course his fellow ‘kidnap victim’, Yuri Verbitsky, pictured, was found dead on January 23rd, with opposition media outlets keen to emphasise he had been tortured. Given the nature of news reporting coming out of Euromaidan, with the main Ukrainian media functioning as opposition portals, it’s impossible to grant these accounts any degree of veracity. No question that people have died on Maidan, the body found outside Globus in early December, the man found hanging from the Christmas tree in late January. Yet severe conditions, and in-fighting between factions, have clearly been key in this.

Lutsenko’s incoherent, contradicting accounts of the kidnapping of he and Verbitsky make that harder to believe that they were kidnapped than that it was simply staged. Despite the conflicting reports of the injuries which had supposedly had him hospitalised, Verbitsky’s cause of death was actually hypothermia. Verbitsky’s being found dead of hypothermia on Maidan would have been damaging to the opposition, his being found kidnapped and killed gave them a huge boost, with Verbitsky himself awarded a hero’s funeral in his native Lviv. The Euromaidan PR operation is a highly-effective machine, disseminating information swiftly through its multi-languages presence on all major social networking sites.

1Euromaidan4Then of course, Dmitry Bulatov, AutoMaidan organiser supposedly kidnapped on January 22nd, held for 8 days by the inevitable ‘unknown men with Russian accents‘. Bulatov, found of course in a ‘village near Kiev‘, as ever, attempted to take things up a bit, with tales of his attempted crucifixion. It all began on his first day of kidnapping, seemingly: “On the first day, they put me on the floor, covered my nose, put a wet cloth on my goggle and started beating me and I started choking with my own blood. Then the interrogation started. The interrogation took place every day”.

Yet, he seemed to have been given a break from all this, as on January 24th he used his credit card (which he had made no mention of having stolen), and from the IP address which he accesses his Vkontakte account, spent $39 downloading music from iTunes. Bulatov’s has spent the time since his release ranting in the manner of a a man who is clearly not all there. As for him having his ‘ear cut off’, he has indeed had a slither of his ear removed, but his Lithuanian doctor would not confirm the crucifixion, and added that Bulatov had no broken bones.

1Euromaidan6As for the supposed severity of Bulatov’s injuries? Well, in Euromaidan, activist injuries are never quite what they seem. Tetyana Chornovol, pictured, the opposition activist involved in extreme opposition violence (as Bulatov was) whose injuries in the alleged beating she received on December 24/25 were described as life-threatening? Less than a month later, she was out and about once again, banging on about the property she accuses Yanukovych of owning like a demented episode of Through the Keyhole. As for her injuries, less than 2 months after she’s as good as new. Her mental health is another area, as both Chornovol and singer Ruslana seem to be having their own contest on Maidan these days, who can out-mad the other.

1Euromaidan5Lviv-native Ruslana, for her part, seems to think that just about everyone in Ukraine is pursuing her, flipping between listing her various persecutions to plugging the magazine covers and television shows she has appeared on. Her appearance increasingly blowsy and dishevelled, her speech ever more disconjointed (video originally posted now removed by user), she has made repeated reference to fearing the same will happen to her as Bulatov. By which she takes us not to mean being given an amount of money to lie low for a few days, spending some of that on iTunes. Anyway, Ruslana of Eurovision won the contest in 2004. Ruslana of Euromaidan 2014 looks like she should be surrounded by cats outside a Metro station.

1Euromaidan7Ruslana is name-checked incidentally, in a self-made video by a naked young lady daubed in the Ukrainian colours. In the video, in which she speaks right to camera it’s unclear whether it’s more of a cry for help for Euromaidan, or simply a cry for social service intervention.

Then, of course, most recently, there’s the ‘I Am a Ukrainian‘ video. Glossily produced, artfully edited, staged and set, you can’t fault the production values. The content is another question, with the poor girl put up to the task of being the latest oppressed victim of Euromaidan, clearly not the full hryvnia (even 1Euromaidan8before Euromaidan’s ongoing state-of-crisis takes the currency to new lows).

In the 2 minute video, she praises those having fought and killed Ukrainian police, most recently murdered a judge (shot in the back), members of Ukraine’s most extreme right-wing groups, as ‘brave, civilised people‘, reference to fantastical police raids and abductions at night, like some sort of Lady and the Tramp dog-catcher. She further reveals a key fear of … being disconnected from the internet. Well, quite. Anyone who’s been on Maidan will confirm the most difficult thing there is not being automatically connected to one of a number of free wifi providers set up.

One thing many on Euromaidan have lost their connection to though, is reality. It’s One Flew Over the Maidan’s Nest down there, as the lunatics run deranged.

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