Crimea, Russia and to Rage against the UK Propaganda Machine

Graham Phillips

I’ve been back in the UK for over a month now, and in that time, I’ve come to understand a few things better, especially the meaning of Orwell’s phrase that the future is ‘a boot stamping on a human face forever’.

But that’s hardly where the Orwell references end. Because in the UK it’s works a truly Orwellian-style propaganda machine, designed to keep the populace in eternal suspension of the purported threat of, of course – Russia! 

There’s Boris Johnson over in Kiev, churning out an incessant slew of anti-Russian rhetoric, without any substance to back it up, but because it’s anti-Russian, it’ll naturally be accepted unquestioned:

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What we do have, of course, is Boris meeting ‘Crimean Tatars’ and condemning Russia’s ‘illegal annexation‘ of Crimea…

screenshot-1307Yet this provided without any context whatsoever. Russia’s ‘illegal annexation‘ of Crimea came about after a referendum there, which came about after a violent overthrow of government in Ukraine, Euromaidan. Yet, Euromaidan is exalted in the UK, events at eminent establishments are held in its honour, and dissenting from the narrative is not condoned –

Euromaidan is so important because the whole house of cards rests on it. It must be purported that Euromaidan was good. Because then it can be sustained that Crimea, and Donbass, are ‘bad’, and ‘Russian aggression’. And the situation in Crimea must be made out to be ‘bad’ (as it always is), with particular focus on the Crimean Tatars and their supposed repression.

In the above Crimean Tatar photo, it looks like Crimean Tatar figure Mustafa Dzhemilev, self-appointed ‘leader of Crimean Tatars‘, who supported Euromaidan tatarsin Crimea, left in 2014 for Kiev, and has provided an endless source for western media of reports of repression, persecution etc against Crimean Tatars in Crimea, despite himself not having been there for some 3 years now.

In Crimea, some are puzzled why Dzhemilev has never attempted to return to the peninsula, most accept that he has found a lucrative stream in Kiev, endlessly reciting how ‘repressed’ his people are, to eager audiences who ensure he is well remunerated for his suffering.

Yet in Crimea, Dzhemilev is regarded by most Crimean Tatars as a traitor to his own people:

And, as here, my reportage, while you can find Crimean Tatars who will tell you they preferred life under Ukraine, they are in the minority, and more, feel free to express that opinion:

But, none of this must be allowed to reach mainstream media. There, it can only be a wall of ‘blame Russia’, that’s become so much of a meme the Russian Embassy in the UK regularly joke about it –

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What are the Ukrainian Embassy doing, meanwhile? Pumping out a relentless stream of tweets blaming Russia for everything…

screenshot-990screenshot-1258
screenshot-1264screenshot-1252And they are fully supported by the UK in doing this, the UK’s own embassy ever happy to tweet, retweet anything, as long as it’s pro-Ukrainian, and by default, anti-Russian. Ukraine really is an incredibly convenient country for those looking for a stick with which to beat Russia, so much so that all are willing to turn a blind eye to the manifest problems with, and in, Ukraine –

And when it’s not Ukraine, there’s always a subculture of Russia which can be passed off as Russia, look at Reggie Yates’ recent ‘yoof’ style series on BBC, Extreme Russia, simply a chance to go round exposing all that’s bad about the country, safe in the knowledge that no one over here will either disagree, or seek to present the other side.

So, that’s the reality as we have it, walls, and waves of anti-Russian propaganda. And nowhere’s safe, not even sport, this is how the BBC are portraying the upcoming World Cup in Russia:

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Of course there are those in the UK who can see behind the lies, and the masks, to the truth. But you have to really want to. You are faced with a colossal propaganda machine in the UK, to lie down is to let it simply stamp all over you. To stand against it, you have to be be prepared to, as things are now, stand almost alone.

All about my Medals, by Graham Phillips

I see a fair bit written that I got awarded a medal connected to Russia, supposedly meaning I’m an ‘FSB agent’ and that kind of thing.

Screenshot (58)It’s actually all just the ever mono-directional diatribe of those ‘pro-Ukrainians’ who’d love nothing more than to discredit my work on the purported basis that I have some sort of connection with Russia.

Well, I’d like to answer, and add to that. I have actually been awarded 4 medals for my journalism, and got them mounted today, to display at home, because of course I’m honoured that people have appreciated my work enough to bestow these symbols of recognition.

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So, from left, actually the above ‘FSB medal‘ in question, was my first, awarded Graham Phillips medalon March 1st 2015, in the town of Chekhov, by Moscow by a (non-state) group for Russian border guards. It was given to me by Pavel Hlyupin, former border guard, and a man I’d known for several months because of his humanitarian work in Donbass, presented in a local council room there, in a small ceremony.

The medal is conferred for ‘real assistance to Novorossiya‘ and reflects gratitude for my work there. Actually, at the time, I’d just left Donbass (Novorossiya the term used by some to mean that, and wider area), having been on the frontline covering the takeover of Debaltsevo – see here –

It was given as a gesture of appreciation, recognition of my, what had been a near 7-month uninterrupted stint of work in Donbass, starting back in the Lugansk blockade in August of 2014 – see here –

There’s no state significance to it, no official connection to any Russian organ. And I’m pretty sure that if Russia’s FSB give out medals of the sort this has been made out to be, they do so in Moscow, not a small town 70km south.

Anyway, it was a nice gesture, and I was pleased to accept it!

Graham LPR MedalFast forward to December 21st, and I was awarded the medal of ‘Merit’, 2nd order, by head of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Igor Plotnitsky. This one was a particular honour for me, as I’d been the only western journalist in Lugansk for almost a month in summer of 2014 as the city was under siege by Ukrainian forces, without water, electricity, phone signal, little food, under constant shelling. 

On February 5th, in St Petersburg, I was given the Dmitry Karbyshev medal of military journalism (pictured), this coming at the time when I’d left Donbass, after another Graham Phillips medal Russialong spell there, and was in St Petersburg working on my film ‘Aramis’.

March 24th, back in Lugansk, I was given another award for my Lugansk work ‘from the grateful people of Lugansk’, from the International Community Fund ‘Commandarm‘.

So, there we go! Now, there’s no question that my awards orientate from a Russian, Lugansk Republic direction. However, it’s been these states which have recognised my work – the western media haven’t wanted to show my documentation of Ukrainian shelling, and more, so the western world mostly isn’t aware of my 4000+ video reports.

But none of them have any connection whatsoever to the Russian state. In any case, you can hardly choose who gives you awards. I don’t go ‘chasing medals’, but of course, it’s gratifying when someone values your work, and nice to have a tangible symbol of that. My policy is – accept the medal, be proud of it, but never let it affect, or have any bearing on my work.

Anyway, I’m happy to have them mounted, and set the medal record straight here.

Slavyansk – Donbass – 2 Years after Ukrainian Forces Took It Back

Graham Phillips

Ukraine’s president Poroshenko is in Donbass just now, 2 years after Ukrainian forces recaptured Slavyansk, Kramatorsk, and further territory in the area. It’s, thus far, business as usual for the man now more than 2 years Ukraine’s president despite approval ratings actually lower than his predecessor at the time of the Euromaidan overthrow – around 17%.

So, we have Poroshenko decked out in camouflage, making a series of
Poroshenko SlavyanskStrangelove-esque statements, giving out medals, posing for flinty photos in forementioned fatigues, making an announcement on changing the insignia on Ukrainian military uniforms to honour Ukraine’s Insurgent Army, who fought with the Nazis in WWII.

Business as usual then, the standard greetings, congratulations on ‘liberation’, further plaudits to Ukrainians for standing up in ‘defence of freedom, democracy and territorial integrity’. Here it gets a bit tendentious, because what actually kicked off the situation in Slavyansk was Euromaidan in Kiev – a mob taking to the streets, backed on by a baying crowd pumped up by partisan media coverage, a western blind eye to any acts of violence perpetrated, and generous foreign funding. 

LuganskApril2014On April 12th, as had happened in Kiev – but the western media approved of it thereanti-Kiev activists took over administrative buildings in the city. At that time I was in Lugansk (pictured), having accepted a week’s work for RT (Russia Today). Why RT? My position in not supporting Euromaidan meant Russian media was the only door open to me, which allowed me to report things as I saw them. Now, having not worked with RT for almost 2 years, can say I neither watch nor even like the channel, but back then, they gave me the opportunity in Donbass.

So, I was there with them in Lugansk, when things started going off in Slavyansk, and I demanded to go there. Initially, to be honest, the producer at RT that day hadn’t even heard of Slavyansk, so was against it. But, I persisted, went, stayed there reporting for the next month-and-a-half until my capture on May 20th by Ukrainian forces at Mariupol, and deportation – although in the first instance, it must be said, Kiev made me deport myself telling me to ‘get on a plane tomorrow if you ever want to come back to Ukraine‘.

In my time in Slavyansk, I recall the vast majority of the population supporting the DPR, many local men joining the ‘people’s militia’ – it’s actually more natural to call them ‘opolchenie‘, the Russian word, as there’s no direct translation which captures that word. I’d love to show you videos of this, however due to the hunt for ‘separatists’ which took place after Ukraine retook the city, I had to remove most of my (hundreds of) videos. You can see one here, in which I’ve blurred the faces, a crowd of locals chanting for ‘referendum’ in the city centre, mid-April.

However, there’s no question that things got a bit messy, and there were a few who exploited the opportunity, in the chaos, to do as they will. The fallout between the ‘people’s mayor’ Vyacheslav Ponomarev and military commander, Igor Strelkov turned very ugly, and as the weeks passed it became clear to residents there would be no repeat of what had happened in Crimea a couple of months before (referendum, Russia immediately taking over).

Screenshot (46)The referendum held in Slavyansk, on May 11th 2014, saw western media sneering at a ‘farce’, focusing on a ridiculous, clearly Kiev-planted story of 100,000 pre-marked ballot papers ‘intercepted’, rather than paying attention to the mass turnout of people from the city, with queues of hundreds of metres, plenty of normal ballot papers to see.

And Ukrainian military actions had in any case begun in April, I saw the first body there on May 3rd, a man shot by Ukrainian soldiers after a dispute, was present at many locationshospitals, to confirm figures, and funerals. By the time I was deported, in later May, already up to 30 civilians had been killed as a result of Ukrainian military action. How many were killed overall, before Ukrainian forces took the city of some 115,000 back, in early July 2014? At least another 30, by any estimation – sources here, here, here, here – other than the forgiving official version, which puts the total figure killed at below 20. 

So when Poroshenko writes today, of Ukrainian forces taking the city with ‘minimal human losses‘ and ‘saving the lives of people‘, that’s clearly untrue. By the time the Ukrainians retook the city, their military campaign, against a vastly outnumbered opolchenie, had seen a place which once attracted tourists to its beaches, reduced to destitution, subsisting most of the time without water, power, extensively damaged by Ukrainian shelling.

Here’, a children’s hospital shelled – 30th May 2014 –

Orphanage – 1st June 2014 –

Smoke rising from city – 6th June 2014 –

Queue for water – 8th June –

Building goes up in flames after shelling hit – 8th June –

Wrecked apartment block – 12th June –

Many inbetween, but here 30th June, as in the days before they retook the city, Ukraine’s shelling campaign intensified –

Of course, Poroshenko today wrote about it, again, as a victory ‘against Russia’. Nonsense. There were volunteer fighters from Russia, it’s entirely possible there was some hardware which had come over the border, but most of the fighters were local men who had dug up weapons from Soviet times, hunting rifles. True opolchenie, most of the military vehicles captured Ukrainian army AFV’s and on. You can see some of both here, in this video of Victory Day, 2014 –

So, when the opolchenie retreated, and Ukrainian forces swept in in a carefully co-ordinated campaign on July 6th, which involved much filmed handing out of bread and vegetables, there was indeed a beleaguered turnout of townsfolk to meet them, some there for the handout, others genuinely happy that Ukraine had taken back control.

But did it reflect the will of most in Slavyansk? From my time there, I’d say that Strelkov Slavyanskcertainly wasn’t the case. In the beginning, a clear majority of people in the city supported the would-be breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic, of which Slavyansk was a part, perhaps 80-90%. As time went on, this went down, due to the conduct of Ponomarev, and Strelkov – the latter (pictured), having decided it was a war situation, meaning war regime, meaning shooting people for looting and other such acts. But, still, support for the DPR remained high, perhaps 60-70% when Ukraine took over.

Actually, this man here I interviewed in a surreal Slavyansk in later July 2014, with Ukraine’s takeover having quickly morphed into organised hunts for ‘separatists’, seeing disappearances, said that while he’d not supported the DPR – in fact everyone suddenly ‘hadn’t supported the DPR, had been out of town’ – around 70% had.

This woman I interviewed at the same time, mid-July 2014, was, pretty radically, pro-Ukrainian, and there always were some like her. However, it was a minority.

So, what’s Slavyansk like now? Well, a city divided, united by something – no one’s happy. Few jobs, little money, a city entirely re-branded to enforce Ukrainianism on everyone – Ukrainian flags and banners everywhere, organised pro-Ukrainian meetings, parades, pressure to speak the Ukrainian language (in a city which spoke almost entirely Russian before). I have friends there who keep me abreast, and more, even filmed a report from there recently –

How much DPR support is there now? Well, it’s hard to be sure exactly. Round-ups and repression have had an impact. Many had to leave town, others disappeared. Others, pro-Ukrainians, have been settled there from other areas of Ukraine. Yet many remain, pro-DPR, of course unable to express this (for the above video, many pro-DPR simply refused to speak). Relentless Ukrainian On 27 April 2016, (right) UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits with pupils of School #13 in Slovyansk, as part of a visit to conflict-hit eastern Ukraine. He was in the country to raise awareness of the global education crisis facing children in emergencies. UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Orlando Bloom visits School #13 in Slovyansk as part of a visit to conflict-hit eastern Ukraine to raise awareness of the global education crisis facing children in emergencies. School #13 was one of the first hit by shelling in the conflict that broke out more than 2 years ago. It is one of the 57 schools that UNICEF has helped to repair and refurbish in the region. UNICEF provided new school furniture, lego for classrooms, games and trained the school psychologist to help children cope with their experiences. Across the conflict area, approximately 580,000 children are in urgent need of aid and more than 230,000 children have been forced from their homes. Around one in five schools and kindergartens in the region have been damaged or destroyed and around 300,000 children are in immediate need of assistance to continue their education. The trip came as new findings show that nearly a quarter of the world's school-aged children - 462 million - now live in countries affected by crisis. The Education Cannot Wait Proposal, written by the Overseas Development Institute and commissioned by a range of partners including UNICEF, reveals that nearly than one in six – or 75 million – children from pre-primary to upper-secondary age (3-18) living in nations affected by crises is classed as being in desperate need of educational support. However, on average, only two per cent of global humanitarian appeals is dedicated to education. At the very first World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in less than three weeks’ time, a groundbreaking new fund - Education Cannot Wait - will be launched to give access to learning to every child in need in emergencies. It aims to raispropaganda – and the Ukrainian media is so propagandistic a journalist called Anatoliy Shariy has made a career catching them out – has had its effect. Some changed sides, turned on neighbours, informed on neighbours.

There’s been limited repairing of damage caused by shelling. Occasional stage-managed operations such as the visit of Orlando Bloom (pictured above) barely paper over the cracks.

There’s an uncertainty about what comes next. When Poroshenko and the PR bandwagon rolled out today, they left a scarred city behind them, the pain of war still deeply rended in buildings and populace. The overwhelming appetite is, understandably, for there to be no war, and many who support the DPR are even willing to tolerate Ukrainian occupancy if it means no war. But, beyond the demagogic, tubthumping tweets of Poroshenko, 2 years on from the Ukrainian takeover, lies a city in a bleak state with few reasons to be cheerful.

Who am I, Where have I Come from? Why all the Trolls? (Quickly) By Graham Phillips

In recent days the metrics on my YouTube channel, followers on Twitter and so, have shown a surge in followers, subscribers, viewers from my own country, the UK.

This has been accompanied by a fair few comments along the lines of ‘who is this guy?’. Well, I haven’t just emerged from a box, a stretch, Goa, or Barry Island. Most of my last 2 years have been spent covering the war in Donbass –

Actually I was the only western correspondent there during the blockade of Lugansk, and spent the most time on the frontlines of conflict in 2014/15. So why have you never heard of me? And, as above, why all the trolls?

Well, I covered the war western media didn’t want you to see, and which infuriated those who wanted to present their version of Ukraine. I covered the relentless shelling by Ukraine of civilian areas in Donbass, and mass civilian fatalities and casualties –

And with that, the trolls who didn’t want this information getting out. They’ll tell you all sorts of things – it’s true I started my career with RT. But in 2013, RT wasn’t the RT we think of today. I’ve not worked with them for 2 years, and believe me, now, like the channel even less than you do.

However, in a western media blackout, Russian media let me tell the story of the Ukraine war back then, which I couldn’t tell elsewhere. Since early 2015, I’ve worked for myself, fund all my projects via crowdfunding.

There have been attempts to link me with all kinds of things, mostly Russia, in order to discredit my work. It’s nonsense, I’ve got no connection whatsoever with Russia.

But, this is what happens in an information war, when people can’t discredit your work directly, and all my work is as it is, uncensored, video reports of things just as they are, they go for the source.

So, there’s a longer biography here, if you’re interested, pleased to meet you in any case! Graham

Graham Phillips – a Brief Biography

graham-phillips

To support my work, click here. 

I read a lot of conflicting information about myself, so would like to set a few things out. We will deal with criticisms here also.

I’m a completely independent, crowdfunded correspondent, unaffiliated to any company, or country. My YouTube channel, with near 4500 videos, and over 60 million views, can be found by clicking here.  This is a brief bio of myself.

I’m a British journalist, Graham William Phillips, full name, graduate of Dundee University,  (Philosophy with History) one of the first Guardian Student Brand Managers, a trainee journalist scheme in the late 1990s. At university I did some student theatre, under the name Brandon Reed. Back then, I saw my career either as journalism, or writing for the theatre. (Photo from uni days, right)

Graham Phillips universityAfter graduating, I moved to London in 2001, and with opportunities in journalism limited at that point, looked at other options to build a career. I spent most of my near 10-year career in London working at the (now defunct) Central Office of Information.  I mainly worked in the Website Rationalisation department, reviewing government websites for closure, integration.

Then, at 30, I fancied a change, a reboot, live in another country, learn a language. Loving football, wanting to experience being in a country in the run-up to a major tournament, opportunities in journalism, and simply liking Ukraine, I moved to Kiev in 2011. Over the next 2 years, I worked at What’s On magazine, did some English teaching in addition, and studied Russian.

See more about that here!

In 2013, I left Kiev (read about the reasons why, here), and returned to the UK for several months, contemplating the next move. I decided to go back to Ukraine, to live in Odessa. I was living there in November of 2013 (I’d built up my own company doing corporate English lessons, was working on a book), when Euromaidan began. Due to the time I’d lived in Kiev, and seem the radical elements behind Euromaidan, I didn’t support it. With the western media at the time almost entirely pro-Euromaidan, I took to writing blog posts telling the other side.

See my video here, about Euromaidan: 

My position, differing as it did from western media, brought me to the attention of the channel Russia Today, RT. We started doing Skype interviews, this coinciding with my starting to Graham Phillips Donetsk airportgo out and film things of my own volition, including Euromaidan, Crimea. In early April, RT offered me the chance to go for a week’s work in Donetsk.

I went, and have worked in Donbass for most of the last 3 years. I had a fairly short working relationship with RT, ending after my 2nd deportation from Ukraine. I neither particularly enjoyed working with RT, nor have had anything to do with the channel since July of 2014. As a channel, I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me, and proud of the work we did together, but there is no relationship between us, on any level, hasn’t been since mid 2014, and will not be again.

After RT, from late 2014 until early 2015 I worked with the Russian channel Zvezda. Since then I’ve worked for myself, funded by my YouTube channel, and crowdfunding campaigns. I was wounded while covering frontline action near Donetsk in November of 2014.

Without wishing to boast in any way, I’ve been the western correspondent to report most from the frontlines in Donbass, including MH17 site.

I spent a month, as the only western journalist there, while the city of Lugansk was under siege, and bombardment, in August 2014. 

I like doing interviews, and have filmed interviews with a lot of prominent people, from poklonskayaformer Ukrainian PM Nikola Azarov, PM of Crimea Sergey Aksenov, former Chief Prosecutor of Crimea Natalia Poklonskaya.

I’ve been called a ‘war reporter’, and in my time in Donbass, I’ve filmed a lot of reportage, the most of any western correspondent, from the frontlines –

But I much prefer filming positive things, and enjoy filming animals – as here, this trip to a safari park in Crimea. 

Some of my ‘street reportage’ has gained wide popularity. This, from Munich, Germany, near 700,000 views –

This, Yalta beach, over 600,000 – 

This, from Brexit time, over 200,000 – 

In my time in Donbass, I have done humanitarian aidraising around £85,000, given to helping victims of war there. I’ve made 2 full-length films while in Donbass, and also reported extensively from Crimea. In March of this year, I reported briefly from the Baltics, before being deported after a couple of days.

However, I returned there in June to continue reporting.

I live in London, love Great Britain, been a long term supporter of the England football team. My work in Donbass has seen me awarded several medals.  I speak German, and Russian, to a reasonable level.

You can read more about how I went from being a channel’s correspondent, to a crowdfunded correspondent, here.  In May and June of 2016, I reported on the UK referendum, making near 80 videos on that. The project was entirely crowdfunded.

I’ve done extensive work on the murder of Barry Pring:

I’ve been working on a film about MH17 for some time, that work continues. In August I visited German agency Correctiv to ask why they had lied about MH17.

In August 2016, I went to Crimea to make a film about a British person on holiday in Crimea, again funded by crowdfunding, that will be released in the summer. Here are a couple of bonus scenes already released:

From September 2016 to early 2017, I was back in Donbass, some reportage from there here, including 360 degree footage, the first of its kind from Donbass, and I’m always looking to use new, innovate technologies in work –

This masterclass, with Jeff Monson, I worked on with Oleg Somov on effects, to makea  bit special:

All this reportage is again, completely crowdfunded, as here. And my aim with all reports is to make them fresh, raw, uncensored, to bring you the real situation, just as it is, no agenda, propaganda etc – just facts, the reality.

Something I get a real kick from is exposing the lies of media, and ‘remote reportage’. I took to task a BBC article about ‘gulags’ in the Lugansk People’s Republic, in October, of course they’d never even been to one, I went –

Recently, I’ve been back in the UK, here’s some reportage from that time:

Going to the Ukrainian embassy:

And the LSE: 

Covering the WASPI demonstration in Westminster: 

I enjoy working on longer projects, and have now made several films, the most popular, about a Donbass militia, Aramis, here –

Look out for much more reportage, and film projects, to come!

Criticism

To some, I’ve become an object of hate. I stand accused of my reportage being Fullscreen capture 06062016 011716.bmp‘pro-Russian’, ‘one-sided’, or myself of having some connection with Russia.

As for my reportage, I’ve always done everything to cover both sides, but there are logistics here, deported and then banned from Ukraine, I couldn’t ‘cross to the Ukraine side’ or interview Ukrainian soldiers, in the way I’ve done with DPR, LPR, in Donbass. When it was possible, I interviewed Ukrainian soldiers as I did people’s militia.

As for Russia, I neither have, nor have ever had, any official connection with Russia. Neither the state, nor any state organisation etc, has ever been involved with my work. Quite the opposite, RT actually instructed me not to work in Donbass, after my 2nd deportation, withdrew all visa support. The channel Zvezda may report into the Russian state, but that never impacted on my work with them in any way – I recorded my pieces, sent them to Zvezda, then put them on my own YouTube channel – always my main focus. In any case I quickly ended my association with Zvezda.

I see some people calling me ‘Fiblips‘ on Twitter. That’s just … juvenile. All my reportage has always been absolutely honest, and objective – things, just as they are. Name calling … well it’s just that.

There are photos of me holding guns in Donbass. What to say? I took part, as part Graham Phillips gunof filmed reportage, in shooting drills. And I posed for a few photos. Quite often, the militia guys would want you to pose with a gun, a bit of fun in often long hours without action, and I figured ‘why not?’. Building relationships with combatants was what got me to where I always wanted to be – filming at the sharpest end of frontline action. These photos can – and are – taken out of context. I never did, or would, engage in any combat, I took my duties as a correspondent seriously, kept to within acceptable boundaries.

These photos are just a part of war. There isn’t one real correspondent in a war zone who hasn’t at one point picked up a weapon – why would you not, the nature of a journalist is to be interested in things, to want to know how things feel. The difference is, that I show you this side. And the ‘silly selfies’, that’s also a part of war, and I show you that.

I’ve seen myself described as a ‘sex tourist’, ‘sex blogger’ etc. Just, nonsense, I did keep a blog, there were some articles on the subject, but there were as many articles on abandoned buildings in Ukraine. As for writing about prostitutes, I’ve indeed done that, some years ago. And I always believe in being completely open about everything, and the point I put myself on the line to write these articles was my conclusion, that prostitution is unacceptable. 

I had an incident early in my career where Ukrainian media claimed I triggered a tripwire, then claimed I’d been shot at, RT said a similar thing – and I was working for them at the time. It’s true I made a rookie error, didn’t capture what Graham Phillips tripwireI’d stated on film, but I never claimed whatever it was that went off at my feet was the shot. Even pro-Ukrainian media initially said there was something which sounded like a shot. I based saying that on what I’d seen, a Ukrainian soldier pick up his gun, point it at me, a crack.

However, I hadn’t captured it on camera, I got absolutely caned for it, and it was the last time I reported something I hadn’t captured on camera. It was a rookie error, and a hard lesson, which formed the basis of my career since – facts as filmed, nothing sensationalised. As for RT, they caved, threw me under the bus. That’s just RT, as far as I’m concerned – an absolutely disloyal channel. When the going’s good, your best friend, as soon as the going gets tough under the bus.

Max Seddon of Buzzfeed wrote a much-read article about me. Some of it was correct, some patently incorrect. I’m certainly no stranger to criticism in any case, and I accept it that it comes with the path I’ve chosen.

Some may not approve of parts of my work in Donbassinterviewing POWs for example, gets attention. But I always did so reasonably, politely. And more, after my treatment in the two times I was in captivity by Ukrainian forces, including threatening with being killed, kept with a bag on my head for hours, interrogated, I did indeed feel an element of ‘why not’, when it came to my own Graham Phillips gayinterviewing of POWs – albeit I did so, as mentioned above, with decency.

Ukrainian media has accused me of being a Russian agent, an MI5/6 agent, both as untrue as the other. Gay (based on a Morecambe and Wise student theatre tribute photo) – nonsense, not that I’m homophobic. I get accused of being ‘anti-Ukrainian’ – it’s just not true, I was the correspondent writing articles in 2012 defending Ukraine before the Euros. But, I won’t defend the indefensible, and where are all these correspondents who wrote about how dreadful Ukraine was pre-Euro 2012, in any case?

As for being a UKIP member – indeed I joined them before the General Election of 2015, wanting to send out a message that the United Kingdom needed a referendum on EU membership. That referendum’s been, and I was for Brexit. I’ve not been a member of UKIP for a long time, was never an active one, and haven’t been for a long time, but without their pressure the country wouldn’t have got to the referendum which was clearly needed.

I was criticised for my reportage on Correctiv, and for running from the police, called by Correctiv.  I absolutely defend this style of reportage, it’s a bit confrontational (however there was no ‘trespass’ of any kind here), but there are graham-phillips-correctivmany different forms, styles of journalism, and many different approaches which can be used to illuminate a situation – the point of any journalism. About running from the police – a key imperative of any journalist is to keep the footage you’ve filmed. With German laws as they are, no question the police would have erased my footage, at the very least, and the real possibility of nonsense ‘trespass’ charges against myself. In that situation, I’d always go for a clean pair of heals, and a full set of files.

Then, there was heavy criticism of my interview of Ukrainian POW Vladimir Zhemchuhov, at a prisoner exchange in September, including the Ukrainian consul officially complaining to the UK about me. What to say? I took quite a robust approach with him, but, stayed within ethical limits, as in all my reportage, stand by it, would do it again.

I think that about covers it!

A Graham Newsletter (#1) Return to the UK, Referendum Reportage, More

Graham Phillips

Hello, this is the first in a series of short newsletters where I keep you updated on 1kids2what I’ve been up to, am up to, and what comes next. Also, as this is being published on the International Day for the Protection of Children, I’d like to take a moment to remember those children of Donbass, caught up in that terrible war, which should never have been. May no other children in the world see or go through what they have.

After over a year away, in Donbass, Russia, including Crimea, and (briefly) the Baltics, I returned to the UK last week, via a trip to the Donbass frontlines –

The last week I spent with family in Wales, and have now returned to London. Of course, some have said to me I should ‘return to Donbass‘ etc, and that’s very flattering, to have my work appreciated. But being back in the UK, home, I’ve felt things as they really are, spoken with people. Most people here simply don’t care about Donbass. And that’s not because they’re ‘bad people’, or so – it’s almost never on the news here. Marginalised to just another war (or even?) going on in a Graham Donbasscountry just distant enough to be distant.

All the work I’ve done from Donbass, for the last 2 years, the hundreds of reports from everywhere from frontlines, to homes hit by shelling, to concerts to festivals, simply hasn’t penetrated the information blockade. Of course, the main channels won’t show my work here, it doesn’t fit the narrative. And as for RT, who I still get associated with, I’d like to say firstly that I’ve had nothing to do with RT for a long time, and secondly, no one I know here would even think of watching RT.

So I can go back to Donbass, do the same again, the Russian, and a select western audience will know more about what they already know, and again no one (other than the select) in the west will notice. Or I can do reportage in the UK, and EU, to win a wider western audience, and take that audience with me to Donbass, Crimea, to bring the truth from there.

To that end, I’m working on a number of things. Ever more English subtitles on reportage. And I’m planning new reportage from the UK, and EU. I’ll be launching a crowdfunding campaign soon for my UK Referendum reportage, which I’d like to be … unexpected, interesting. Of course, when it comes to the UK referendum, I have an open position in support of ‘Leave’, but I’ll put that to one Graham Phillips Aramisside to bring – with your help – objective, fresh reportage.

I’m going to put on a special film evening in London, showing the 2 films I’ve made in Donbass and Crimea – Aramis, and Crimea, Victory Day 2016, and in my time here be doing new reportage, from London, Europe.

Then, the next big project, as with all my work, fully crowdfunded, will be an MH17 documentary. I’m aiming for this to be the definitive MH17 documentary – based on extensive time on site, witnesses, expert analysis – completely independent, getting through all the myths, lies and misinformation to the truth of what happened.

So, there’s a lot ahead, a lot to do. It’s all to do, and I know we can do it all together. When you come back home, and I’ve been away for over a year, it’s an excellent opportunity for a reboot, to make some changes, and define how best to do things going forward. To this end, I’ve closed the Support Donbass Shop, but not before it made a big contribution to humanitarian aid in Donbass. Read all Graham Phillips journalistabout that here.

Look out for crowdunding campaigns coming soon, giving you a unique chance for involvement in these projects. And be sure I don’t measure involvement purely by finance – every share, repost etc of my work helps to get the truth to a wider audience. And those who do decide to make a financial pledge to make a project possible I consider as partners. To all of you, I’m always very grateful, and more than happy to chat, find me on Facebook here.

Updates (#2) RT and Me – Nothing to Do with Each Other

Graham Phillips

I still find myself associated with the channel RT, so I’d like to say this very simply – I don’t actually like the channel RT.

Graham PhillipsI never wanted to ‘do a Liz Wahl‘ etc, so have been polite before, but I can’t let continued association with RT compromise the integrity of my work going forward, so would like to be entirely open.

Moreso, I don’t say RT are ‘Russian propaganda, etc, actually I dislike watching reports from the DPR and LPR still captioned ‘East Ukraine’ – that’s disrespectful to the people there.

And while I’m grateful for the opportunity they gave me to start my career, I didn’t really enjoy working with RT, as I did in 2014, they chose to support me only when it suited them, otherwise, they’d go missing, or, in a sticky spot, try to throw me under the bus. No hard feelings from me about that, looking back, that’s business, I guess, but at the time it was disappointing.

Graham Phillips 1Association with RT acts, in the western media, only as discreditation against your work, the brand is now likely inextricably associated with ‘Russian propaganda’. That may be a shame, may be because of western propaganda, but that’s just how it is. No one I know would even think of watching the channel. The early work I did with RT serves now only as an attempt to discredit my later work, and of course I believe in the importance of not only that, but the work ahead, so can’t let this happen.

All said, I have friends working at RT, I support their good work, and all told, wish the channel well. But to put RT and me together in any way is just not on!