There’s a huge amount of rumour and myth swirling around MH17, and has been from the start. It’s something I’ve found myself somewhat on the receiving end of, with the release of a film in Russia last year, entitled ‘War Correspondent‘ seemingly modelled on myself, and placing the journalist protagonist, right at the scene of MH17 after it went down.
Therefore, one of the questions I’m frequently asked about MH17, is what was it like shortly after the plane went down. I know a man who knows, Patrick Lancaster (right), but I was actually some 2000 miles away, on a sunny afternoon near Birmingham, having tea with my great aunt. Then, the news, a call from RT, and a return trip to Donbass I’d not set a fixed date for, due to enjoying time in England, was suddenly in half an hour, as tyres screeched, and I snatched sleep by roadsides for the next 2 days to make it to Donetsk as quickly as possible.
I made it there on the 19th, but it took a bit of time to sort out accreditation, then there was shelling hitting by Donetsk, which took up the 20th to Tuesday 22nd July. Then the plan, to go the MH17 site on Wednesday. But it didn’t work out that way. With battle waging at Donetsk airport on the night of the 22nd, I wanted to go to film that. RT forbade me, I went anyway, got captured by Ukrainian forces. They asked what I was doing in Donetsk, one of my answers was to go to the MH17 site. They held me for 3 days, deported me, to Poland, for some reason.
I returned to Donbass in August, via Russia, and to Lugansk. At that time, the road from Lugansk to Donetsk was impassible without encountering Ukrainian forces – something I couldn’t do after my deportation, ban – neither of them legal, but that’s Ukraine.
I made it to Donetsk in early October, and was first at the MH17 scene for the 3 month anniversary, where I recorded this report (English) –
Other than Patrick, I don’t know of any other journalist who’s spent more time at the scene. And it’s all been of my own volition – I’ve never filmed there for a channel, always for myself. It’s become a mission, to bring the truth out of one of the most obfuscated places in this information war. To get it through the fug of disinformation, wanton dissemination of fabrication.
To this end, the release of my first documentary, extended, improved, coming up soon. And before that, just to set things out here as they are.