18+ Donbass War: When Ukrainian Shelling Hit Lugansk, August 2014

This is a Donbass video I’m no longer able to show on YouTube, but which needs to be shown.

In August of 2014, Ukrainian forces had almost surrounded the city of Lugansk – held at that time, still held by the Lugansk People’s Republic forces. The Ukrainian military’s closest stronghold to the city was Lugansk airport, some 10km from city limits, and from there, they rained shelling down on the city of Lugansk throughout July, and August of 2014.

This shelling, which hit all over the city of Lugansk, caused mass civilian loss of life. Here is an 18+ video, from August 13th, 2014.

Why did they choose to do this? Ukrainian forces knew perfectly well they couldn’t take Lugansk by force. Or, they were unwilling to try. Their intention was to terrorise the people of Lugansk into surrendering. That didn’t happen, but the legacy of their campaign is some horrific stories. Go to Lugansk’s southern cemetery, you’ll find this gravestone:

This was a family of 3, the Knishes. On the 14th of July, they were all packed, and ready to leave Lugansk, to escape the daily shelling of the city by Ukrainian forces. In a cruel twist of fate, shelling hit them just as they were about to leave.

And there’s thousands of other tragic stories of the results of Ukrainian shelling of Lugansk, 2014. I was there, witnessed it with my own eyes. The memories, losses, pain, anger, is there to this day in Lugansk.

As a military operation by Ukraine, it was a complete failure. Fired up by the actions of Ukraine’s forces against their city, Lugansk People’s Republic forces drove Ukrainian forces from Lugansk aiport, and other positions nearby, at the start of September, 2014.

More on that to come, in this series, of facts, from the ground, explaining to you what really happened in Donbass.

Moving on From Donbass, And Staying with Donbass

I’ve been open about the fact, that the angle of my reportage for the next period is away from Donbass, and I won’t return to report there until after the World Cup 2018.

For the last few years, most of my work has been from Donbass up to the point where I feel that I’ve done as much as can, for the time being. I’d always planned to do projects connected to Russia in the run up to the World Cup 2018, and it’ll be that way. 
 
As for Donbass, there are excellent journalists reporting from there, in English – Patrick Lancaster of course, there’s Janus, and more – and I’ll do as much as possible to promote their work, and support Donbass in a humanitarian capacity. 
 
On my return to Donbass to report, I don’t plan to return to reportage from the frontlines – if there’s still war there, and of course I hope there won’t be. I’ve done that really a lot of times, had more close shaves than could ever really say. It’s time to call it a day on that, luck only lasts for so long. 
 
And I’ll look forward to my return to my Donbass, reporting from there later in 2018. There’s lots to come before that!

 

YouTube and my 18+ 2-Week ‘Technical Break’

Sorry to say I won’t be able to bring you any video reportage for the next 2 weeks. YouTube have penalised me twice in two weeks – for old videos from the Donbass war.

The videos were indeed 18+ but that’s war, sadly, and they’d been on my channel for a long time, marked as 18+. So, why now?
 
Well, I don’t know, but if I get one more strike against my channel, YouTube will terminate my account, deleting the near 5000 videos there. And, it’s YouTube, they do that.
 
I’ve also got a 2 week ban from posting video material. Of course, I could post it elsewhere, but it never has the same impact, good reportage gets lost. Better to focus all attention, energy, on doing even better reportage after the return!
 
I’ve now removed all 18+ material from my YouTube account, so there should be no further problems after this 2-week period, the first of its kind in near 4 years.
 
As for the 18+ videos, I’ve saved them all, and will think what best to do with them.

Every Day Can’t be Three Years Ago… Remembering the Donbass War in 2014

From early August, I could write a post every day ‘3 years ago’…. 3 years ago it was the Lugansk blockade. August of 2014, Lugansk was surrounded by Ukrainian forces, shelling and death every day.

We would be in the admin building, it would hit, there’d be an order to take shelter. Then, it would abate, you’d run to the scene, but so much shelling, you had to choose where to run. One day, August 20th, 2014, I ran one way, to a church hit by shelling –

– volunteers ran the other way.

We convened after, compared notes. What did you see? My church up in flames. Them, a mother and daughter waiting for humanitarian aid when Ukrainian shelling had hit them. One of the volunteers had to take the wounded mother to safety, one of them get her daughter, and the other pick up her daughter’s leg, which had been blown off.

Marina was 7, she had been put into a coma. I went to see her mother Nataliya in hospital afterwards, and she cried that her daughter, who loved dancing, would never dance again.

But Marina never even emerged from coma, she died the next morning.

There are a lot of these kind of memories. And what happened must never be forgotten. But, as a person, of course, it’s difficult, emotionally, to think about them. I try to strike a balance between going forward, and also, so that these things are not forgotten.
3 years ago, the liberation of a lot of places in the LPR, I then head from Lugansk to Stakhanov, then to Donetsk. Motorola, Givi, Donetsk airport … a lot of adrenalin, but also a lot of shelling, a lot of death.
A lot of things which need to be remembered, but are hard to remember. Every day can’t be 3 years ago

Just How Silly is the Ukrainian Government? Name a Place…

Just how silly is the Ukrainian government? Well, with the country mired – miring Poroshenkoitself – 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.

where 1Krasnodon, 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)?

where.jpgBy 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….

A Graham Newsletter (#34) A Message from Donbass, and On to Russia!!

My last newsletter had me feeling a bit of pressure in, and from the UK: 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/26/a-graham-newsletter-33-pressure-in-the-uk-ukraine-and-leaving-the-uk/

So, it was nice to be able to cool off a bit here in Donbass, and record this messsage for you:

For my countrymen in the UK, not only: Don’t Believe the UK Government Lies, come to Donbass

On the way to Donbass, I was delighted to finish filming of my documentary about the town of Belval, in Luxembourg, which I’m just finishing the edit for now.

I was happy to do an interview there with former West Ham legend, Sebastien Schemmel. And incidentally, something those in the BBC or wherever attacking me will never say, is that – did you know that a surprising amount of my work has nothing to do with Russia, or Donbass?

That said, of course a significant part of my work is from Donbass, Russia, and always will be – and I’ve written about why that is, here. And here, about covering all sides, in my reportage from Donbass – as well as moving onto a new project.

Here, a video from School 60 in Lugansk’s graduation ceremony:

Here, Yasinovataya’s machine engineering plant – 

To touch briefly on personal life, in my time in the LPR I’ve been pleased to announce my engagement to a beautiful young lady from Lugansk, Yulia, and to congratulate Patrick Lancaster on his own recent wedding!

3 1/2 years covering Donbass, and for a few reasons, it’s time to move on. What can be referred to as ‘low intensity’ warfare, goes on. There’s some shelling on the frontiers, some battle on the frontlines – and to be honest, with a few notable, tragic flare-ups, it’s been like that for over 2 years now.

Such news as there is from Donbass, is covered by journalists here, including Patrick Lancaster Graham Phillipsand others. I feel both that my contribution is more needed elsewhere, and also, I’m also in the mood for a new challenge. And there there is intense information war, there’s an opportunity to go and report the truth. Where’s the information war waging fiercest? Russia, and I’ve written of that here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/08/11/world-cup-2018-information-war-against-russia-game-on/

And that’s my project for the next year, as the western world attacks Russia, to travel all over Russia, filming you the truth about how Russia really is, for a series called ‘Real Russia’. 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/08/11/my-project-for-the-next-year-russia/

It’s going to be a massive project, and you’ll hear more about it soon! As with all my work, it’ll be 100% crowdfunded, 100% independent.

This below isn’t a taster of that project, but, I have been getting in and about the minutae of Russian life, here, at the hot end of Russian bathhouse culture, for a series called War Gonzo –

For now, a new video from Donbass, as the Night Wolves pass through on their way to Crimea:

And my documentary from Luxembourg, Belval, will be up very soon!

If you wish to support my work, there’s always here – https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips 

And as ever, huge thanks for being with me!!!

A Graham Newsletter (#32) The UK Ups Support for Ukraine, BBC Come After Me

This is a factual newsletter, lots of info, lets get right to it.

Ben Stimson was recently jailed in the UK for his participation in Donbass. The UK effectively use Ben as the fall guy to send out a statement: they are upping their support for Ukraine:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/18/rank-injustice-hypocrisy-in-the-uk-the-case-of-ben-stimson-and-chris-garrett/

Shortly after, the UK update their travel advice for Ukraine, stating: “If you travel to eastern Ukraine to fight, or to assist others engaged in the conflict, your activities may amount to offences against UK terrorism or other legislation and you could be prosecuted on your return to the UK”.

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/22/update-uk-updates-ukraine-travel-advice/

The UK also announces the other day, that it’s stepping up military support to Ukraine: 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/21/united-kingdom-steps-up-support-of-ukrainian-army-still-shelling-civilians/

And, in this time, the UK’s propagada agency, the BBC have come for me: 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/22/exclusive-how-the-uk-are-trying-to-stop-my-work-full-story/

What do the BBC want? They want to do an interview with me, where I either state, or they make out that I stated, that I’m ‘returning to Donbass’, having done a hit on me as a ‘Russian propagandist, banned from Ukraine as a threat to national security’, etc.

Public outcry at the repression of a journalist deflected, by the BBC, onto ‘UK authorities stop Russian propagandist’. 

The UK have resorted to this now, because actually last September, UK ambassador Judith Gough stated, despite her opporbrium of my work that I hadn’t committed any offences in the UK, so they couldn’t touch me (although if Ukraine get me, they can do what they like).

Yet, things have clearly changed.  Ben Stimson hadn’t committed any offences in the UK, actually he hadn’t committed any offences anywhere given that he’d never fired a shot in anger, but they still got him.

So, they sent in the BBC to find something new to frame me with, in the light of Ben’s conviction, and precedent set. Would they jail me? Almost certainly no. Would they try to stop me leaving the country? They’d love to. 

By the way, you can read my recent article about Judith Gough, here:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/22/uk-ambassador-judith-gough-having-a-gay-time-in-ukraine-while-war-in-donbass-goes-on/

And my recent reportage, from Moscow here:

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/20/my-visit-to-the-ukrainian-cultural-centre-in-moscow-special-reportage/

And a look at recent Donbass reportage here: 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2017/07/17/my-recent-donbass-period-25-key-moments/

There’s a lot of reportage to come, but no longer in the UK will I write, or can I write about ‘reportage to come from Donbass, Crimea’. However, I’ll always tell the truth. I’m leaving the UK soon, to finish my documentary from Luxembourg, about Belval. After that, there will be reportage from Russia.

As ever, all my work is 100% supported by individual donations on crowdfunding, and I’m hugely grateful to anyone who helps keep my independent, objective journalism alive:

https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips