The other day, I put a video on YouTube about the UK’s involvement in the Ukraine war.
After a couple of days, with the video getting thousands of hits – YouTube removed it. Why? For supposedly ‘violating their community guidelines’. Yet – all the video content on it, is already on YouTube, videos I uploaded some time ago.
So, removed from YouTube, here I present the full video for you – strictly 18+
The other day I was saddened to read of the death of Christopher Allen, a US journalist, killed in conflict in Sudan. And I must admit, it’s a conflict I had no idea of, until reading of Christopher’s death, as he was caught up covering battle there.
In the context of Christopher’s sad death, I’ve read up on that situation –
South Sudan’s civil war erupted in December 2013 just two years after it obtained independence from Sudan, when President Salva Kiir accused his former deputy Riek Machar of plotting a coup.
Thousands of people have been killed by the violence, which plunged part of the country into famine earlier this year. Some four million have been displaced, according to UN figures.
I never met Chris in person, but he did contact me back in 2014 –
I sometimes saw Chris’ work on the Ukraine war in the time after that. I do have generally mixed views on his work, given that it was almost entirely for the western media, pro-Ukraine, anti-Russian media. Here, Vice, for example. His work did follow the pattern of ‘Russia-backed separatists’, etc. However, being in western media, it couldn’t be any other way – editors wouldn’t let it be any other way, and there were signs that Chris was trying to go against the grain.
In his article this year from the Toronto Star, some signs of a journalist trying to, within the confines of the anti-Russia, anti-Donbass republics remit, some signs of a journalist trying to break some truth through, about the problems in Ukraine.
Chris’ sad death, at only 25, puts his work, and life, into a new focus. He literally went to one of the most dangerous place in the world for a journalist. And he would have known that. His death shows just how fierce the fighting is there, and sheds light on a situation which has seen over a million flee their homes, mass death, and the threat of humanitarian crisis for civilians.
Chris gave his life for his work, reportedly killed for photographing the battle. In his death, he shows us the true purpose of a journalist – to cover untold stories.
Chris, we never met in life, but in death, you have my full respect. RIP.
What was Kiev like pre-Euromaidan? I lived there myself for 2 years, worked at a magazine in the city, knew the city well:
It was a good place to live, had cleaned its act up in the run up to Euro 2012, along with all the new infrastructure that had gone with that. Fancy hotels were opening, I even reviewed one on a gig, investment was rising. Things were fine.
What’s happened to Ukraine, post-Euromaidan? Economic collapse, national debt is rising, corruption is rising, corruption is institutionalised, Ukraine has become kind of a dumping-ground for ex-jihadists, can’t even get Ryanair to fly into it, economy run by ‘economic hitmen‘, has become either one of, or even the poorest country in Europe, health system in crisis, an unreformed penal system, a tuberculosis epidemic…
There are things like the ongoing farce with Saakashvili. He’s the governor of Odessa Poroshenko ally, then he’s not. Then he’s an opposition leader. Then he’s had his Ukrainian passport revoked. Then he’s in the USA telling everyone about how awful Ukraine is (but, Russia is ‘worse’, of course). Then he’s in Poland saying he’ll come and rescue Ukraine… it goes on, and on ….
And to add to that, Ukraine’s capital Kiev has now plunged into one of the 10 Least Liveable Cities in the World – Economist Intelligence Unit finds –
10. Kiev, Ukraine — 47.8/100 points. The capital of Kiev saw the biggest decline in terms of liveability — 21.4 points — of all 140 cities surveyed. It is the also the only European city in the 12 that scored below 50 points. The city is still in a recovery that remains under threat from unrest, economic instability, and the ongoing civil war taking place in the Donbass region.
Occupying the next places, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe. What does the UK’s LGBT-obsessed ambassador Judith Gough have to say to this? It’s hard to agree – I see that Kiev is getting better, not worse!
In diplomatic world, as ever, bad = good where Ukraine is concerned….
The UK followed up on getting it completely wrong about Euromaidan, with … getting it completely wrong about what happened in Crimea, in 2014.
Blanket support for Maidan, meant that the UK’s position was, from the start, against those in Crimea protesting against the coup in Kiev: Maidan – good. Against Maidan – bad. Went the UK’s thinking.
However, there was something interesting in this, the BBC, ever the faithful mouthpiece of the UK government in international affairs, actually veered from the Crimea narrative, in the early days. Fresh from blanket coverage of the sunny side of Maidan, beautiful / heroic protesters speaking about their desire for a ‘free Ukraine’, to ‘be Europeans’ etc etc –
…none of the molotov-hurling terrorists or acknowledgement that the east of the country was actively opposed to Maidan – the BBC’s Daniel Sandford (pictured) was down from Maidan, reporting from Crimea, on February 25th, 2014, that people there were ‘demanding Russian passports‘… ‘To the people of Sevastopol, it’s not a Ukrainian history, but a Russian one‘…. before adding the obligatory ‘if Russia wants to cause trouble (in Crimea), all the ingredients are there.’
Yet very quickly, even this tokenistic attempt at objectively from the BBC had been ‘corrected’, and their reporting had reverted to script, February 27th: Ukraine crisis: Russia warned against Crimea ‘aggression’
Out went the actually talking to people in Crimea, and by the way I was in Crimea myself at this time, finding people readily disposed to talking, and a very different picture to the one the BBC were depicting –
Over at the BBC, it was :
Cameron of course, later, a few days after the referendum, upped that to that the vote had taken place ‘under the barrel of a Kalashnikov‘. Ridiculous, of course, and even very silly. I was in Crimea, visiting polling stations, on the referendum day.
The BBC, ‘strangely’, nowhere to be seen on that day, an entirely calm, jubilant even, day, where Crimeans, en masse, headed for the polling stations –
Start of the day:
Street interviews with people in Simferopol:
Do these people really look like they’d need to be made to vote under the ‘barrel of a kalashnikov’? Was there any evidence at all of that at polling stations. Of course not, it was nonsense from the UK, who even admitted later they got it all wrong:
The British government was left in the dark during the Ukraine crisis because its diplomats can’t understand Russian
MPs says the lack of language skills in the Foreign Office is ‘alarming’
In the years since, neither language, or seemingly any other skills have improved at the Foreign Office. The UK have zoned in on the supposed ‘persecution’ of Crimean Tatars are the latest cause celebre of the day. I was in Crimea in 2016 filming the largest gathering of Crimean Tatars yet, at the Hiderlez festival –
Meanwhile the UK’s ambassador to Ukraine, LGBT obsessed Judith Gough – who’s never once been to Crimea in her time in the role, was tweeting this –
What does Boris do? Well, goes to Ukraine, meets up with Crimean Tatars in Kiev – who’ve been there for the past 3 years, making a comfortable living by speaking about how everything is dreadful in the Crimea they’ve not been to for over 3 years, and who their own people regard as traitors: (this, my interview with an actual Crimean Tatar leader, in Crimea):
Boris meets them, and mouths off a few buzzwords about ‘human rights’ etc, ‘Russian annexation of Crimea’ etc on his travels. There are clear signs of increasingly fewer people believing Boris, or the British position on Ukraine, and Crimea – however this doesn’t deter Britain from just blindly barrelling on with its pre-set polemic from a parallel reality.
What’s the problem then? Is it language skills? Is it mental skills? Or does the UK’s foreign policy bear a lot less relation to reality, than it does to UK business interests?
Whatever the reason, Britain’s policy on Crimea is mistaken, misguided, deceitful, and mired in the kind of blinkered small-mindedness which currently condemns the UK to the tier of second-league nations.
I’m not the only British person who finds this all deeply embarrassing.
Today is Independence Day in Ukraine. Strange to think now. I lived in Kiev for 2 years, and before this all, really did like Ukraine, and would even go to Maidan for the event to mark her independence day. Epic concert, all in a good mood, no anti-Russian sentiment – actually almost everyone, even on stage, spoke Russian. All good, friendly, positive!
You’dve had to have no soul not to like Ukraine pre-Maidan. You’dve have to have no brain to like Ukraine post-Maidan.
Just how silly is the Ukrainian government? Well, with the country mired – miring itself – in ongoing war with Donbass, and stricken economy beset by high-level corruption, and looting, you would think they would be engaging all of their efforts to tackle these, and the many more problems (healthcare, plunging population, etc…) afflicting the country.
But yet … in the midst of all of this, Ukraine has somehow found the time to, seemingly randomly, rename places in the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics. Republics which will clearly never return to Ukraine, as even most Ukrainians now accept.
Here’s look at just a few:
Torez, DPR – renamed to Chistyakovo.
Krasnodon, LPR – renamed to Sorokino
Sverdlovsk, LPR – renamed to Dolzhansky
Kirovskoe, DPR renamed to Krestnaya
Stakhanov, LPR renamed to Kadievka.
And this list goes on, to 150 places renamed in the Donetsk, and Lugansk people’s republics – and Crimea.
So, let’s make some points here –
Absolutely no one who actually lives in these places calls them by their ‘Ukrainian names’.
Although lists were circulated, the renaming has hardly caught the public imagination, even in Ukraine, where the former names are still mainly. This Ukrainian ‘ATO’ resource, recently referring to Stakhanov, among other ‘Ukraine-renamed’ places, in a war dispatch.
However, some Ukrainians do use the Ukrainian names. So, fighting a war against places you’ve renamed yourself, some on the same side call them this, some call them the other … no one’s quite sure. Yeah, that’s a masterstroke, surely.
And if we’re speaking of maps, by the way, the maps printed out will all be in the previous place names. So what have Ukraine’s soldiers done? Tippexed out and filled in with biro? Or still using the names of the hated ‘occupiers’ (i.e. those people who actually live and are from the places)?
By the way – a Facebook comment when I mentioned this – Do you know how much money it costs to rename a street? You have to get all of the title documents changed on all of the paperwork for all of the residential and commercial areas. Then you need to update the cadastral plans, the city development plans and submit to the federal government for ratification. It is a logical and economic nightmare. Also, anytime there is this volume of paperwork there are bound to be errors. This means court cases, adjudication and all of the rest of that. Ridiculous.
More, it’s almost a form of self-trolling. How much more ridiculous can you get? Renaming places random names which they will never really be called? Causing untold expense, and confusion for yourself in the process…. is it some sort of new Ukrainian ‘victory’, if you can’t capture a place, just rename it? I mean, come on, this is supposed to be a serious country, we’re told, right?
Oh, Ukraine, it’s just too silly….