My Letter from Great Britain, and Reply to Great Britain

By Graham Phillips

On the 18th February, I received the following email from Great Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office – 

We have been alerted to a number of social media updates that have caused some to raise questions about your presence in Ukraine in a journalistic capacity.

Particular things that have raised concerns include being photographed while wearing military uniforms, separatist insignia, or holding firearms. We are very concerned that you may be putting yourself in danger through these types of activities which could be seen as a blurring of the line between journalism and active involvement in a conflict.

I can only repeat that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Crimea, Donetsk oblast and Lugansk oblast. We advise against all but essential travel to Kharkiv oblast. Our travel advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine. As we have previously discussed with you, we recommend that British Nationals leave these areas.

Your safety, and that of other British Nationals is a priority for us. Although we are not able to provide consular services within these areas, please do not hesitate to contact us either in London or at the British Embassy in Kyiv if you require consular assistance.

I duly replied today –

Thank you for your email. Firstly, on a factual point, I’m not in Ukraine, I am in Novorossiya, which voted to secede from Ukraine in referendums last May 11th, after the violent revolution of Euromaidan installed an unelected, far-right government.

However, I do sincerely appreciate your concern for my wellbeing, and am grateful for your having written to me. 

In terms of the points you raise, I accept that my working practices may appear unconventional. However they are easily explainable – I wear camouflage when filming from frontline positions so as not to attract extra attention to those I am with, or myself. The Ukrainian military are equally inclined to shoot journalists as combatants. I wear ‘separatist insignias’ because I think Novorossiya is a beautiful country. I’ve taken part in firearm drills to augment my experience, and understanding, as a war correspondent. 

The line, delineation, of my role here as a correspondent is thus perfectly clear, simply there are those who choose to blur it for their own ends. None of my working practices contravene any laws, all are utilised to the end of my wish to be the best correspondent possible. 

I will be back in the United Kingdom shortly, for a break after over 6 months of continuous work here. I appreciate the support of my country, in a diplomatic capacity, and hope that my work here has enlightened our nationals to the real situation here, rather than the skewered misrepresentation sadly perpetrated by much of the British media, and the mistaken position of the British government. 

My very best wishes for now Sarah, and do keep in touch. I am proud to be British, proud of my country. However, I am ashamed of our country’s position regarding events in Donbass, and am doing as much as I can to correctly represent the honour, and history, of our great nation.

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51 thoughts on “My Letter from Great Britain, and Reply to Great Britain”

  1. Despite what several pro Kiev twitter users may think of you, speaking for myself, I would shake your hand if I saw you on the streets in the UK. You do good work showing the truth in pictures and video.

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  2. Russian translation, not perfect may be..

    От Грема Филипса

    18 февраля я получил из Министерства иностранных дел и по делам Содружества Великобритании письмо следующего содержания:

    Нам поступили сообщения об опубликованных вами в последнее время некоторых материалах, вызывающих вопросы о вашем пребывании на Украине в качестве журналиста.
    В частности, вызывает обеспокоенность то что вы фотографируетесь, будучи в военной форме, со знаками отличия сепаратистов, а также с оружием в руках. Мы очень озабочены тем что вы подвергаете себя опасности подобными действиями, балансирующими на грани журналистики и активном участии в конфликте.
    Я бы хотела повторить, что Министерство иностранных дел и по делам Содружества предостерегает от любых поездок в Крым, а также Донецкую и Луганскую области. Также, мы советуем не посещать Харьковскую область без особой необходимости. Более подробная информация находится здесь: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine.
    Как мы уже это обсуждали с вами, гражданам Великобритании рекомендуется воздержаться от поездок в эти места.

    Ваша безопасность, равно как и безопасность всех граждан Великобритании, является нашим основным приоритетом. И хотя мы не можем предоставить консульскую помощь в этих областях, вы можете всегда обращаться в наш офис в Лондоне или в посольство Великобртании в Киеве.

    Cегодня я должным образом им ответил:

    Спасибо за ваше письмо. Прежде всего, я нахожусь не в Украине, а в Новороссии, которая проголосовала за отделение от Украины на референдуме 11 мая прошлого года, после насильственного переворота (Евромайдан) приведшего к власти нелигитимное, неизбранное народом правительство.
    В то же время, я искренне ценю вашу заботу обо мне и благодарен вам за ваше сообщение.
    Что касается упомянутых вами вопросов, я допускаю что моя работа может показаться не совсем традиционной, однако это легко объяснимо:
    Я ношу камуфляж, когда снимаю передовые позиции, для того чтобы не привлекать лишнего внимания к тем людям, с которыми я нахожусь и к самому себе. Украинские военные считают журналистов наравне с бойцами, и в одинаковой мере склонны к их убийству.
    Я ношу “знаки отличия сепаратистов”, потому что я считаю что Новороссия – это прекрасная страна. Я принимал участие в занятиях по огневой подготовке, чтобы дополнить свой опыт и знания как военного корреспондента.

    Поэтому, граница моей роли как корреспондента, весьма отчетлива и очевидна: просто есть те люди, которые изгибают ее в свою сторону. Ничто из моих действий не противоречит закону, все они направлены на то чтобы быть лучшим корреспондентом, насколько это возможно.
    Скоро я вернусь в Великобританию в отпуск, после 6 месяцев продолжительной работы здесь. Я ценю поддержку своей страны, на дипломатическом уровне, и надеюсь что моя работа помогла нашим соотечественникам увидеть реальную ситуацию того что здесь происходит, а не ее искаженную версию, представляемую английскими СМИ, а также понять ошибочную позицию британского правительста.
    Мои самые наилучшие пожелания вам, Сара, оставайтесь на связи. Я горжусь тем что я Англичанин, я горжусь своей страной. Однако мне стыдно за позицию нашего правительства по ситуации на Донбассе, и я делаю все что в моих силах чтобы наиболее корректно представлять честь и историю нашего великого народа.

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  3. I to would shake you hand Graham there are many of my friends on the web,, that do not leave comments when they visit your time line. From all over the world as well as the UK who support what you are doing. Even my local friends friend’s that come visit me as i am virtually house bound are made aware of the truth that is ignored by the British and western media. and they in turn tell their friends. So dear friend the numbers of people who think your doing right. Far out number the ones who are complaining……..wishing you good health and strong resolve
    Dave

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    1. What on earth can you support? He is twisting and lying, inciting hatred and hates others. Did you see that Youtube video, when he was told that he is a sellout and his reaction was a mouthfull of offencive language towards a man who did not even show any sign of aggression towards him. Plain shameful! This guy needs to come to his sences, like all those who support him.
      Graham, you are doing what you should not. Wrap it up and go home.

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  4. Unfortunately Britain is eternally indebted to the US evil empire which keeps her thus firmly under its grip. That was the price Britain paid for US support during WWII, a debt which Britain can never repay even after relinquishing its vast empire and handing over to the US.

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  5. Its a shame so many of your countrymen cant feel as proud of you as you claim to be of your country, Graham.

    And I don’t mean the ones who are “misled by the British media”.
    I mean that the ones who are perceptive enough to see the many ways the Western media goes wrong.
    NOT those who are so angry, confused and afraid of the world’s, and their own state, that they give way to paranoia and conspiracy around every corner, and then desperately need some opposite view to cling on to for a sense of security come hell or high water, and a sense that they have found the whole truth and nothing but the truth –
    but those who have the intelligence, to both to treat Western media with caution; but to also clearly recognise that you work for an organisation which makes lies, deceit, propaganda, and brainwashing of the naïve and innocent a true art form, which I admit I am sometimes in awe of, simply because it is so brazenly and unashamedly slick in its falsehood , deceit and propaganda. Trouble is, it takes so many in. Graham, your news orgs have NO CREDIBILITY. Zero.
    However none of this is remotely surprising. Since it is run and controlled by a government and leader, who are the shameless masters of… lies, deceit, propaganda, brainwashing..etc etc.
    And none of which would really matter, apart from being depressing and worrying. If it wasn’t for the fact that these ruthless and audacious liars, have already been responsible for countless deaths and endless misery, both close at hand and afar – (SYRIA comes searing into the brain): have proved time, and time, and time again that they can NEVER be trusted on their word or promises, and worst of all, through their utter refusal of every chance to set limits, are consistently increasing the fear and tension in the world, and HUGELY increasing the sense of impending danger that is spreading through it – hardly something that is needed.

    And certainly not least, seem determined to lead a sleepwalking Russia to ultimate disaster.

    I hear there is a Sect in Russia that has started to worship Putin as a Saint (sic).
    Putin – your ultimate boss – is a THUG. Plain and simple. A meglomaniac. And a pathological liar. A player. A chancer. A bruiser, a danger addict who can only find satisfaction from the next game of poker.
    A bad-tempered chess player. And everyone – especially those who fall for his deceits – are pieces in his game, to use for his ends. A mesmeriser.

    Trouble is; one day when it all finally goes wrong, and he cant control it anymore, he will have the most GOD ALMIGHTY hissy-fit… then throw the board and pieces across the room, shout “I’m not playing anymore!”, and go waddling off with his pockets stuffed with billions, leaving others to clean up the mess.
    But not all the world wants to play his little game. Nothing annoys him more than that.

    Maybe you have completely forgotten. A “Journalist”, is supposed to be someone who always strives hard to look at all sides of a story equally, to be as impartial and balanced as he possibly can.
    Naturally that can be hard for any journalist, sometimes VERY hard. They are human. It is only natural to feel emotions about things that are obviously wrong. They will always at least have private opinions, and will often find it hard to walk the line of impartiality and fall off. Sometimes I wish they would be LESS impartial, when certain atrocities deserve to be publicised more forcefully.

    But there is a WORLD.. a WHOLE world of difference between that, and starting off with an agenda which is already set for fullsome bias towards one side. Nothing wrong with saying, “I am here to tell this side, so you know the whole story”. But not when the intention from the start, is ONLY to push and tell that side of the story (for orgs that cant anyway be trusted to tell the truth about THAT), without ever the SLIGHTEST intention to balance it up seriously with truths from the other side – in fact, with every intention to rubbish everything from the other side, whether or not it is completely true, half-true, or not true at all.

    That, my friend, is and has always been called :P-R-O-P-O-G-A-N-D-A. It has a long tradition. And I’m afraid that is EXACTLY what you are: a propogandist.

    Why dont you just come clean about it and stop pretending you are something you are not ? Could make life a lot simpler for all, really.

    Sorry to say, that I for one am a Britisher who ain’t too proud of you. Just hope you don’t complain if things start to get really sticky in any way. Though I am quite sure they are paying you plenty to do this dubious “work”.

    How do you plead to these charges ?

    PS. Very considerate of the Commonwealth Office.
    Funny feeling you wont take their advice.
    You could be the first British > “Novorossyia” nationality convrt, maybe ??
    Good propaganda value, don’t you know…

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    1. @ Waterbeach. According to your anal-ysis if what is written fits your world vision it is the “truth” but if it does not fit then it must be “Propaganda”, it must be tough having to go through life always being right.

      It has been said that there are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth. Part of finding the truth is listening to the other side.

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      1. >your anal-ysis

        Cheeky!

        >it must be tough having to go through life always being right.

        Not in my experience. I’m always right and everyone-else is always wrong on at least some point or other, which is grim but I’ve got used to it over the years.

        >It has been said that there are three sides to every story, yours, mine and the truth.

        Doesn’t make it true though. Just cos you personally aren’t a very hot button it doesn’t follow that no-one else can be. Some people actually are more competent than others.
        And an ounce of competence is worth a ton of warranted modesty.

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  6. I find your current position confusing. Are the boundaries of Ukraine internationally recognized? If so, then using armed conflict to change them is unacceptable, is it not? Wouldn’t an example of this be if Canada were to enter New England, US and try to forcefully take it over or vice versa, if US went into Nova Scotia, Canada? Or if Norway tried to take part of Sweden? Both countries have historical claims to these regions, but w/ established boundaries, only legally negotiated changes can be allowed and recognized. Yes, there has been conflict in Ukraine since 12th Century (and earlier), but in 2015 we have to find better ways to resolve conflict than strong-armed brutality.

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    1. Dear Sarah,

      Sorry to tell this to you, but I found your position and the last comment even more confusing…

      1. Great examples from the Western History! But… that your 12 Century remark
      shows that you are still to do your homework on the Eastern side…

      2. I honestly believe that you do accept international law stated that nations have rights
      for independence (alongside with the international law on the county boundaries though…)

      3. May I kindly remind you some recent relevant events:
      referendums for interdependency (Quebec, Scotland).

      4. Do you still recognize Serbia boundary?

      5. Who start this mess with overturning the legal government and then used that “strong-armed brutality” in Ukraine? Would you be still so supportive to the side if instead of Bandera and Shuchewich, as national heroes, they have Hitler and Hess?

      and finally:

      6. Do you think people on the West have rights to listen to the other side of the conflict? Does Graham use any weapon other than his microphone and camera?

      with ind regards

      silent witness

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    2. You wrote ” there has been conflict in Ukraine since 12th Century (and earlier)” -it,s wrong and if you check a history so you,ll find what I,m speaking about..there was no such a state as Ukraine till 20-th century and Crimea never belong to Ukraine before 1954 when it was given by Kruchev(ukranian by nationality) without approval of our parlament to Ukraine(when you check the map of Ukraine territory at the list of UN states you,ll not find Crimea there).Don,t forget that it was a unique state as USSR at that time and that was not a big problem untill nationalists came to power in Kiev

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    3. “Are the boundaries of Ukraine internationally recognized? If so, then using armed conflict to change them is unacceptable, is it not?”
      No, because the first armed conflict was the shootings in Maidan organised by the US regime to bring about yet another coup. From then on there was no legitimate government in Kiev deserving to be internationally recognised. And the position of the Washington warmongering regime and their poodles is irrelevant to the legitimacy question.
      More to the point on unacceptable is Kiev junta’s false declaration of a so-called “anti-terrorist operation” which in reality was/is an operation of genocide against people who just happened to be living over some energy resources.

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    4. Your analogy is a bit off. Here is a closer one. Imagine that the US government was violently overthrown, and the president forced to flee for his life, by a bunch of skinhead racists, backed by Russia. These right wing nuts ban Spanish, and declare Hispanics to be subhuman beetles. Whereupon California, New Mexico and Puerto Rico, assisted by Mexico, decide they want no part of this mess and vote to secede and form their own republics. The rightwing junta in D.C. then declares the secessionists terrorists and launches a massive military attack on them calling it an “Anti-Terror Operation” thus slotting it right into the GWOT for gullible western publics. Unfortunately the regular US military is not really motivated to fight for these junta freaks and their own neo-nazi battalions while great at terrorizing civilians are no good at war. Hence they repeatedly get kicked in the teeth by the secessionists who are helped, of course, by Mexico. Facing disaster on the battlefield and having ruined the country’s economy, the skinhead junta in D.C. can only cry wolf, claiming hordes of Mexicans have invaded, though it is unable to provide any proof.

      This hopefully will clear up the confusion about whats happening in Novorussia.

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    5. You are quite right with all this of course. (And not only are the boundaries recognised, respecting them was “guaranteed” by Russia in exchange for Ukrainian nuclear disarmament.)

      I expressed my outlook here in a long comment, but it seems to still be “awaiting moderation” after 4 days. Not sure why that should be.

      I certainly made my points more forcefully and critically than you, and with strongly felt criticism of Mr Phillips’ role – but that is not the same as gratuitous personal attack, and there was nothing that could seriously be considered rude, offensive or abusive.

      So come on Graham – what’s the problem..?? I’m assuming you are not against open debate and opposing views being expressed, right…?
      I am assuming you are sure enough of your position, that you wouldn’t be remotely worried by my criticism…
      I am sure that although it is your blog, you are for the idea of various views being expressed on public forums, or why bother – unless you are only interested in sycophantic praise…

      I am assuming in fact, that you are for FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION, and speech.. aren’t you..?? as a Truth-seeking journalist..?? Isn’t that, in fact, what it is all about..?

      Someone here described you of having “balls of steel” Graham, so what could possibly be a problem with my words ?

      Come on Graham, “man up”. Publish my words, and simply give a response, however brief, if you think something is wrong with them. You can be as brief, and as rude or dismissive as you like with me if you think that’s what it deserves, I wouldn’t be bothered AT ALL.

      But it bothers me that you prefer to hide my words rather than publish and respond… Yes. That bothers me.

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      1. Waterbeach – My comment was also delayed for 4 days awaiting publication here despite being “pro-Phillips” so to speak. – I guess he does not have time to constantly update, it’s only new posters that get delayed, so as to block spammers. And you really should spend less time writing and more time clearing your mind of the ignorance you’ve accumulated on this subject.

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    6. to Sarah: funny how you insist that the “bounderies” of Ukraine be respected by everyone but somehow that didn’t apply when Kosovo was created. Also, USA has attacked Iraq twice already, yet you dont you insist that USA respect the bondaries of Iraq, a sovergn country. To top of off, USA is reading to send soldiers innto Iraq for 3rd ime, yet you got nothing to say to that. Very funny indeed.
      As for “strong arm brutality”, maybe you should be telling Kiev that, they have broken both Minks agreement I and II.

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      1. Forgot to mention that the reasons USA used to attack Iraq were all found to be bold faced lies: babies taken out of inqubators(1990, “weapons of mass distraction”). But maybe you Sarah think USA did find “weapons of mass distaction” in Iraq.

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      2. Why would you want to come back to this cesspool of falsewitness? If I were 30 years younger I’d emigrate to a country where the people still have a spine.

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    7. I want to remind you – Ukraine has used the army against the people of East Ukraine. This is the 21st century !! Is this OK? The US and Europe have approved the use of the army against the people! … this is acceptable? In Kiev there was a revolution. In Crimea, there was a revolution. In eastern Ukraine was a revolution. The Nazis used the Ukrainian army against the people of East Ukraine.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect the explanation would be quite simple. Americans (and let’s admit, journalists are a part of the nation as well) are quite lazy and are busy enough with whatever is happening on their soil. Of course, they would definitely want an objective source of information about what’s going on down there if they were facing the possibility of being deployed there.

      The reason for Graham’s defiance and bravery is the fact that he is born some 100-120 years later than he was destined to: he is the man of late-Victorian England, the curious and adventurous chap who wants to be there on the other side of the globe and tell everyone what’s going on. In other words, he is alive and excited about everything that’s going on around him, excited enough to be eager to share it with others.

      Modern dat Brittish (hell, it is true for most, if not all the nations) populace are different: despite our world (allegedly) striding down the globalization path, people are more and more (wilfully) locked in their own tiny worlds. This makes it easy for the media to feed them whatever information they deem necessary, because, let’s be completely honest, most of the populace don’t care unless it directly affects them. And when it does, they are even more prone to succumb to manipulation, because that is the way human psyche is.

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    1. Amazing. I can’t recall a single case of the U.S. Department of State issuing such a letter. Their intimidation would be more circumspect. What an odd letter. Is there a transparent threat about action on their part. It makes no sense. Keep up the great reporting.

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  7. From western Canada I applaud your work and commitment to the truth, something that seems to be a very rare quality these days in Canadian media or elsewhere.
    Carry on with your exceptional work, I am in the process of learning Russian so I might be able to understand all of your pieces.

    Blessing,
    Rik

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  8. Graham Phillips’ work is very, very important. He is a beacon of courage and honesty in an otherwise shabby profession. As regards the tone of the FCO. I know them better than most, having had dealings with them since the early 80s. They are murderous, barefaced rats. Incidentally, I brought down the Soviet Union in 1991. On the 10th anniversary of the Moscow coup, the Military Review of Nezavisimaya Gazeta carried a fairly long article giving my account of the coup:
    http://nvo.ng.ru/spforces/2001-08-17/7_step.html
    The French/Romanian automobile company Dacia renamed their X90 project ‘Logan’ in 2001, presumably as a result of articles about me that appeared in the East European press on the 10th anniversary.
    The FCO is one of the most criminal organizations in the world and has a lot of things to hide. It is a subsidiary of Mossad. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee knows what I’m talking about.
    Almost all British journalists are ‘under control’: often directly as ‘assets’, or indirectly, as victims of the mass brainwashing apparatus. With his courage and 20:20 cognition, Graham Phillips is a vital loophole for everybody in the UK.

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