Ahead of my going to the Baltics, Europe, and elsewhere to report, I’d just like to address a few points, before they come up, which, be sure, they will.
I know, there are certain things people say about me, will say about me. So I’ll quickly deal with What they Say, Why they Say It, and the Reality.
What they Say: That I work for Russia’s FSB etc.
Why they Say It: They want to discredit my work in Donbass, which hasn’t fitted the narrative of western media, or governments. Those who write this nonsense know full well it’s not true. They are liars.
The Reality: I have absolutely no connection, and never had, with any Russian agency or organisation. At the start of my career, I worked for a while with a couple of Russian channels (RT and Zvezda), that’s it.
What they Say: That I took part in conflict in Donbass, ‘supported terrorists’, am myself a terrorist, etc. They’ll use photos like this –
Why they Say It: They want to discredit my work, get me arrested, get me killed – just all bad things.The Reality: In 2014, at time of war in Donbass, I filmed quite a lot of training drills, and, always looking to get into the spirit of what I’m covering (within acceptable reasons), I took part in shooting practice. As I didn’t have my own fatigues to wear, I was given fatigues to wear during some of this.
As for the salute photo, on quiet day on the frontlines, some of the DPR fighters in Donbass were filming skits on their cameraphones, pretending to be Rambo. They asked me to take part in one, said it was just for personal use. So it got released on YouTube, which I wasn’t that happy about, but, it was just a 20-second bit of fun, and a bit silly on my part to take part, if I’m honest.
I never took part in conflict or combat of any time in Donbass, I’m a correspondent. An objective correspondent.
What they Say: I got ‘given medals by Russia’, this means I work for their interests, have some sort of state endorsement.
Why they Say It: The usual – discredit my work, which they don’t like as it doesn’t fit their narrative.
The Reality: I do have one state award – from the Lugansk People’s Republic, for my work in covering events in Lugansk during the time of the blockade there in 2014. The other medals I’ve been given, by private individuals in Russia, as a token of gratitude for my work. They are simple ‘thank yous’, no state connection or bearing. But, see below.
What they Say: I’m pro-Russian.
Why they Say It: Standard discreditation tactics.
The Reality: It’s no secret that Russian people (as per the above) appreciate my work, more than, at this current time, people in my own country. However, I’m not ‘pro-Russian’, or anything. I’m a proud British citizen, with no connection to any country, other than my own, and of my own, my own government have actually done what they can to obstruct my work in Donbass.
I like Russia, it’s a beautiful, friendly country, but I like a lot of countries, and none of that doesn’t register when it comes to my reporting, I’m only ‘pro’ reporting whatever the truth is, and fighting propaganda.
What they Say: I’m paid by Russia etc.
Why they Say It: All as above.
The Reality: No one pays me! I haven’t worked for any channel for over a year, and don’t want to either. Western channels can’t be trusted. And if I work for a Russian channel, it’s just used to discredit my work.
I’m funded by crowdfunding, and my YouTube channel. I make a modest living, but don’t care about money. I live on the road, go to where the interesting news events are, and fight to get the truth out to the world. That’s my motivation.