By Graham Phillips
As you read this, you may well be hearing of a horrific video of a man accused of being a ‘drug dealer’ then ‘beaten to death by a ‘Russian separatist’, that story being gleefully circulated by Ukrainian, and pro-Ukrainian media. Video here –
Here’s 10 points to take into account –
- The video is deeply unpleasant, and this sort of thing is, of course, unacceptable.
- In war, this sort of thing unfortunately happens – I recall being taken captive by Ukrainian soldiers at Donetsk airport in July of 2014, with a fellow journalist, Vadim, and watching as Ukrainian soldiers surrounded him on the ground and kicked him repeatedly in the head. This is far from an isolated incident.
- There’s more to this story than is being made out. I was there and about at this time, and do recall a man captured on grounds that he had been cycling between DPR and Ukrainian positions, relaying information to Ukraine of DPR positions, with fatalities linked to this. (Read the full story here)
- This video was put out by a battalion ‘Troy’ embroiled in a bloody internecine battle with former DPR commander, Olhon.
- They make the allegations that Olhon ‘beat to death’ the man in question.
- This allegation has been enthusiastically circulated by Ukrainian, and pro-Ukrainian press, without any corroboration, or contextualisation that the open vendetta the Troy battalion has, on not only this occasion, clearly compromised the veracity of their information.
- This video does not support the claim that the man was ‘beaten to death’. His wounds are certainly severe, painful, but clearly not life threatening. He is reported as now being on the ‘missing persons’ list in Donbass, yet there is no evidence this is connected with this video. To purport those claims is to pass off information from a clearly partisan source, entirely unsubstantiated.
- There are manifest attempts being made to demonise ‘Olhon’, a Russian volunteer fighter, commander for DPR forces, who came to Donbass during conflict.
- I’ve known, and had a working relationship with ‘Olhon’ for a long time – since October of 2014, in fact. He’s taken me to film frontline action many times. And I’ve known him to be, at heated times of war, pretty fierce. However, having spent a lot of time around him, I also know him to be a decent man – friendly, honourable, caring, kind.
- You won’t see any of the other side of Olhon in Ukrainian, or pro-Ukrainian media, such as the time he wanted to come with me on a humanitarian run to Gorlovka, on the city’s frontier, and was so moved by the plight of the people there that when the aid ran out, he took to paying pensions from his own pocket.
In conclusion – you can have your thoughts on this video, and naturally it’s unpleasant, unedifying viewing. However, there’s more to it than meets the eye, and the way it’s being circulated, make it, unquestionably, a fake.