By Graham Phillips
The pro-Ukraine side threw any number of insults at me in my time in Donbass (they still do), common being ‘Lord Haw Haw‘, or the standard ‘Kremlin propagandist‘ etc etc.
That’s fine for them to say that, people who have achieved nothing in their lives naturally want to deride those who have. Why those on the ‘other side’ hate me is simple, they wish I were on their side.
How do you define ‘best’, in journalism – getting to the scenes first, the work you do once you’re there. The work, I’ll cover later in a video article to come – and I always reported the facts as they were, the firsts – I was the first western journalist (latterly there with Patrick Lancaster), at every major scene in my time in Donbass. Sometimes even the first journalist, or in the first batch.
Without ever wishing to boast, and just to state things as they are, I was the best western journalist in Donbass. My opponents don’t hate me for creating ‘propaganda’, they hate me for being the most effective in debunking their own propaganda. For being the best at getting the truth out.
There are many, for this article – here’s my Top 10 Firsts in Photos –
1. Lugansk, mid-August 2014, the Ukrainians almost completely encircling the city, access through their lines a military operation. I was there when was just myself and Alexander Lanskov, his cameraman Roma, of Life News. In the month there, almost no western journalists at all for the first three weeks.
2. I was the first journalist to film, and photograph, Russian humanitarian aid entering Lugansk, on August 22nd.
3. NAF forces take Georgievka – September 3rd, was the first journalist to cross under the collapsed bridge, formerly a Ukrainian stronghold, over to the town of Georgivka, some 18km from Lugansk.
4. Lutugino, taken in the same early September wave which saw other villages, towns and territory around Lugansk taken, a couple of kilometres further down the road from Georgivka, a former major Ukrainian base, and I was the first journalist there, September 3rd.
5. The taking of Lugansk airport. Life News were in there on September 3rd, but I was the first western journalist in on the 4th, with my colleague Sergei Sherov, and first journalist to go underneath the building, to where the Ukrainian base had been (photos of that here).
6. Donetsk Airport – Old Terminal. December 19th, along with Patrick, I was the first western journalist in here, with Novorossiya flags flying, and to get right next to the new terminal, as Ukrainian forces hid from view there, with NAF forces already planning their move to take it.
7. Donetsk Airport – New Terminal. January 16th 2015, myself and Patrick the first western journalists in here, in fact the only in, along with Life News, Semen Pegov, and the Rossiya channel, Eugene Poddubny, as we went deep into the devastated new terminal. We returned on January 22nd, to every floor of the new terminal, and all over the territory.
8. Krasniy Partizan – I was the first western journalist, and in the first batch of journalists, including Life News, and the notable Alexander Kots, and Dmitry Stechin, to get into the village of Krasniy Partizan, of key strategic significance, on January 24th 2015, as NAF forces took control of it and the bodies of Ukrainian soldiers were removed –
9. Chernukhino, February 19th. Patrick and myself, the first western journalists in, as this village near Debaltsevo is taken by NAF forces, with mass abandonment of Ukrainian positions, and military vehicles. Humanitarian aid was handed out to residents, the NAF were in buoyant mood –
10. Debaltsevo, February 19th. With the first group of journalists into this liberated town of global headlines in recent weeks as its taking become a matter of when rather than if. The photo of myself, hands thrust up (photo with journalist Dmitry Kulko of Russian Channel 5), caused no small amount of controversy in the Ukrainian media – it was a genuine reaction of joy to the happiness of the townspeople, my own being first in.
I always was the first western journalist in, did the best work. The pro-Ukraine know it, they hate it.