Mikael Skillt Interview – 15 Key Points

Mikael Skillt

Graham Phillips

Yesterday, continuing into today, the interactive Twitter interview with Swedish citizen, Mikael Skillt, senior member of Ukraine’s neo-Nazi Azov battalion, took place. Skillt’s prolific use of social media has made him effective spokesman for the Azov battalion, one of the battalions ever at the forefront of events in Donbass, giving him a high status as a representative of proceedings.

The basics about Skillt

Mikael Skillt AzovFull name: Kjell Mikael Skillt

Age: 38, 13th December 1976

From: Sundsvall, on Swedish coast

Employment: 7 years in Swedish army, speciality – sniper. Worked in construction industry as ‘project manager’.

Current: Officer, Senior member of Ukrainian Azov Battalion, reports himself in charge of ‘Operations of Swedish Volunteers’.

Location: Skillt spends a lot of time in Kiev, where he was during the interview. He is currently deployed by Mariupol.

Politics: Connections to Nazi Party of Sweden, National Democrats, neo-fascist National Youth, neo-Nazi Swedish Resistance Movement.

Record: Reported sentenced to two months in prison by Sundsvall District Court in 2009, for ‘vandalism, and assault with racist motives’. Again reported convicted in 2013 when he received 75 hours of community service in Solna District Court for rioting.

There was a huge response to the interview, here are the 15 Key Points – 

1. Skillt’s reason for fighting on the Ukrainian side, for the neo-Nazi Azov Battalion, is that he ‘hates imperialism‘. He adds that he is not fighting for any government, but ‘fights for Ukraine‘.

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2. There seems to be some issue, or differences, between Skillt and the far-right terrorist group also fighting for Ukraine, the Pravy Sektor. Skillt stops short of fully supporting them, and has apparently never met, or spoken, to leader Dmytro Yarosh ‘That will be between me and Yarosh, if we meet‘.

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3. Skillt does not seem interested in subjects in his own country, Sweden, in which, with his far-right views, you would perhaps expect him to have an interest in. He answers ‘Not my problem, I moved to Ukraine‘ in response to a question on the ‘islamification of Sweden‘.

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4. Skillt purports to believe that he is fighting against ‘Russians’, and reports himself as 5km away from Donetsk at one point. Yet, his statement that Russia is sending ‘drunks‘ casts some doubts as to whether he really believes it is the regular Russian army.

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5. Skillt thinks that Donetsk, Lugansk, and Crimea, will ‘return to Ukraine‘, does not think Ukraine itself should be in Europe. Unlike the official position, Skillt believes there should be an independence referendum in Ukraine.

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6. Skillt says he wouldn’t shoot me, but, in his capacity as an expert sniper, can shoot someone from 1400-1500 metres. He seems to derive pleasure from boasting about his ‘kill count’ – ‘Let’s say that I killed more soldiers then (sic) your whole family have fingers, toes and ears together.’ At one point he adds ‘my soul would give you life long nightmares‘. He seems to enjoy war, adding that his ‘soldier family‘ has been ‘waging war for 500 years‘.

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7. Skillt has abandoned his earlier plan, to go to Syria and fight for President al-Assad. As for Ukraine’s president Poroshenko, he declares that he would ‘prefer a more battle like president‘, but that Poroshenko ‘has his full loyalty‘.

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8. Skillt joined the neo-Nazi Azov battalion because they ‘had what he needed‘ – a ‘structure and armory’, and reports himself as senior in the operation. Despite numerous statements from Azov about ‘reporting to no one‘, and their links to oligarch Igor Kolomoisky, and ultra-nationalist Ukrainian politician Oleg Lyashko, Skillt states that Azov are in the National Guard, neo-Nazi Pravy Sektor founder Andrei Biletsky is the ‘supreme commander‘. Skillt would not be drawn on Azov’s oft-declared intention for ‘another Maidan’ in Kiev.

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9. It was Euromaidan which made Skillt want to get involved, and he reports himself as having only received 4000UAH, around $200, for his participation. He reports himself as having ‘lost 60,000 Euros’ fighting for Ukraine, thinks of himself as a ‘modern crusader’.

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10. Skillt expresses mixed feelings on Ukrainian WWII Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, but believes he ‘saved a lot of lives‘ (the first time I’ve heard this claim about Bandera).

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11. Despite fighting for a Ukraine going to enormous lengths to make people speak the Ukrainian language, rather than Russian, Skillt only speaks Russian.

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12.  Skillt expressed numerous, extreme anti-Russian sentiments throughout the interview, he would ‘color the Azov sea red with the blood of Russian soldiers if needed‘, yet declares he ‘likes Russians but hates what Russia has become under Putin‘. Skillt believes the recent Chernobyl forest fires were started ‘by Russia‘.

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13. Skillt does clearly not believe in ‘respect one’s enemy’, saying that Motorola and Givi, commanders of NAF forces, are ‘war criminals‘ ‘rabid dogs‘. whom he would kill with pleasure. He states that he has killed ‘over 100′ in Donbass‘. He says he has ‘no feelings when I work‘, and that when he works he ‘turns into a machine‘.

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14. Skillt is in a serious relationship with a Ukrainian woman, which seems to have heightened the lengths he is prepared to go to for his ’cause’. He goes back to his native Sweden ‘regularly‘, where he receives assistance, is prepared to take Ukrainian citizenship. As for his own mortality, Skillt seems to believe himself near invincible, on asking how he would like to be killed ‘it will never happen‘.

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15. Skillt admits that the Ukrainians shell civilian areas of Donbass, yet attempts to justify this by saying the ‘Russians‘ use them as ‘human shields‘.

Fullscreen capture 04052015 021959.bmp     Full transcript here.

Одесская бойня – личная дань – расширенная статья

Грэм Филлипс

Эта статья первоначально опубликована здесь – это расширенная версия, с дополненным текстом, фото и видео.

В субботу – завтра – в Лондоне, мы проведём акцию у посольства Украины. Я до глубины души потрясен, тем, что они проводят мероприятие по сбору средств для неонацистских по своей сути вооруженных сил Украины в годовщину Одесских Odessa3событий.

Я не могу притворяться, что моя реакция на Одесскую бойню не шла от самого сердца.

Прожил там почти год до резни 2 мая 2014, в котором проукраинские активисты сожгли заживо множество пророссийских активистов, очевидцы сообщают, что количество жертв превышает сотню человек.

Мной было написано большое количество восторженных статей об этом чудесном южном прибрежном городе, снято бесчисленное количество фотографий, демонстрирующих мою любовь к месту, в которое я решил приехать и назвать домом.


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Я слушал Одесские радиостанции в своем автомобиле, выучил ‘Одесский русский язык’.

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Но, конечно, сам был гостем в Одессе. Это правда, что я англичанин, не одессита. Но я знал, много одесситов – настоящий дух Одессы я наблюдал каждую неделю на Куликовом поле, настоящих одесситов. Я помню как в действительности развивались события, взявшие свое начало в Одессе, в марте 2014 года. Мирные демонстрации в поддержку проведения референдума, в которых принимали участие тысячи человек –

Это надежда, что дело может быть решено мирным путем, в марте все более и более сменялась опасениями, что мирного решения не будет, поскольку ситуация в Одессе обострялась с каждой неделей –

Я не был там 2 мая – снимал репортажи в Славянке, как бы то ни было, учитывая Odessa massacreчастоту посещения мной мероприятий в Одессе, многих погибших в том аду я знал. Я помню то, как я услышал о произошедшем в Одессе. Я не мог поверить в это сначала. Ситуация уже начала накаляться в Славянске, где я работал с RT, но то, что произошло в Одессе полностью перешло все рамки возможного. Сидел и смотрел это по телевизору, потрясенный, едва сдерживая слёзы. Я звонил людям, которых я знал в Одессе – некоторые отвечали на звонок, некоторые так никогда и не ответили.

В начале апреля 2014 г., до того как я откликнулся на призыв приехать на восток, меня можно было застать, бродящим по Одессе. В свое время я работал в качестве штатного журналиста в киевском издании, а также преуспел как фрилансер.

Я знал, что переезд в Одессу в краткосрочной перспективе будет сопряжен с сокращением количества журналистской работы, но я чувствовал, что в долгосрочной перспективе, Одесса вдохновит меня, как вдохновляла писателей от Исаака Бабеля до Ильфа и Петрова. Я работал главным образом как преподаватель английского языка, начал вести блог, ходил гулять, взяв свою камеру, просто ради удовольствия. Вот я снимаю концерт –

Катаюсь на велосипеде –

Я смотрел шахматы –

Просто гуляю по улицам города, основанного по приказу Екатерины Великой –

Я помню, как замечательно гулял по привозу и делал покупки. Замечательные люди на рынке, хорошо известные своим одесским характером -дружелюбная, весело!



И я хорошо помню, как видел летом в Одессе развевающиеся рядом флаги Украины и России. Так много в Одессе носили майки с надписью Россия или размещали российские флаги.

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Я даже был фанат Черноморца, пошел на матчи!

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Но после 3 марта 2014 и событий у административного здания города, стало ясно, что город, до того момента в основном пережидавший Евромайдан, пробудился. С Odessa3того дня я фотографировал и снимал события с обеих сторон, и с пророссийской, и с проукраинской.

Я знал людей на пророссийской стороне. Одесситов, весьма недовольных нынешней ситуацией на Украине – Киевское правительство, которого не выбирали, принимают законы, как было очевидно многим, напрямую посягающие на их культуру и образ жизни. Это были, как вы можете убедиться здесь, нормальные жители Одессы, и, по моему собственному опыту общения с ними на личном уровне, хорошие люди. Уроженцы Одессы, гордящиеся своим городом, «городом-героем», своей культурой, великой и богатой историей.

Конечно, по мере обострения ситуации, в Одессе появлялись более воинственные люди как с пророссийской, так и с проукраинской стороны. Тем не менее, следует сказать, что в толпах людей в Одессе, которые я лицезрел, были «проукраинцы», пришедшие с оружием –

Как бы то ни было, случившееся вечером 2 мая, когда по сообщениям 42 даже более 100 человек с «пророссийской» стороны были заживо сожжены «проукраинцами» в Одесском доме профсоюзов в центре площади Куликово поля, стало переломным моментом в этой ситуации. Таким, после которого не было возврата, да и не могла быть. Это был день, который изменил настрой и ставки, и вся картина произошедшего быстро перетекла в полномасштабную гражданскую войну. Всего неделю спустя, другой большой прибрежный город, Мариуполь, увидел свою собственную трагедию, когда украинские войска вошли в город  и открыли огонь по мирным жителям.

OdessamanВ Одессе 2 мая, действительно, некоторые мирные про-украинцы пытались помочь своим соотечественникам, погибавшим в здании, которое было их базой, их местом сбора в течение нескольких месяцев. Но большинство наблюдали, скандируя про-украинские песни, и даже позируя для фотографий. Некоторые из тех, когда-то мирных проукраинских активистов, даже делали «коктейли Молотова» и закидывали ими здание, нескольких выпрыгнувших из окон на землю, и тем самым сумевших спастись из огня, как сообщалось, забили до смерти. Другие, разбились о землю, но, по крайней мере, избежали агонии смерти от сожжения заживо.

Фото отсюда

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Это непростительно. На человеческом уровне, не говоря уже о журналистском, это боль, пронзающая мою душу, когда я думаю о тех людях, которых я видел на Odessa massacre May 2 демонстрациях – о молодых девушках и юношах среднего возраста, о пожилых мужчинах и женщинах, погибающих таким варварским способом.

Кроме того, просто истинно шокирует черствость украинского правительства и средств массовой информации – в отношении погибших посыпались обвинения в том, что они были «русскими террористами», «русскими» (на самом деле, они все или почти все, были урожденными одесситами) Злорадство. И последующие мемы о сжигании колорадских жуков, о пикантных шашлычках Я не буду публиковать их здесь, даже в виде ссылок.

2 мая 2014 года, украинская сторона потеряла какую-то ключевую составляющую страны. Что-то, что делает человека человеком. Сострадание. Человечность. Сердце. Прошел год с тех пор, как украинская власть сделала все возможное, Odessa victimчтобы помешать надлежащему расследованию, а затем списать все на «сильный ветер», что является вопиющим издевательством над убитыми. По причине моей депортации и запрета на въезд в страну, продолжающегося террора против деятелей «оппозиции», я еще не смог вернуться в Одессу, чтобы отдать свою дань.

Находясь в Бразилии, я записал сообщение, заявив о моём намерении поехать в Одессу, чтобы отдать дань уважения погибшим, что, однако, так и не произошло, поскольку я был взят в плен украинскими военными и выслан из страны.

В субботу, завтра, я буду в Лондоне вспоминать их. И задавать вопрос – почему “сторонники Украины” отнеслись к ним настолько неуважительно и в жизни и в смерти? Если Евромайдан разрушил восприятие Украины как страны, то события в Одессе 2-го мая разрушили Украину как нация. А сейчас каких условиях репрессий и запугиваний живёт сейчас часть Одессы как Приморский бульвар часть Одессы.

Вот так Одесса сейчасПравый Сектор, члены которого живут в отелях около Одессы, останавливают людей на улице, совершают облавы, инструктируют полицию в этом государстве террора, который мы наблюдаем теперь в Одессе. Сегодня, 1 мая, очередной аресты по «сепаратизма», даже бронетехника, войска на улицах, чтобы напугать людей.

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karaokeЯ по-прежнему помню, как уезжая записывать репортажи в Донецк, говорил девушкам в любимом местном клубе караоке “До скорого!” Я не мог представить себе, честно, что буду в Донецке только неделю, но не вернусь в Одессу даже через год, я не ожидал этого, даже оставил еду в холодильнике! В Одессе я только что начал брать уроки русского языка с хороши преподавателем, у меня был местный супермаркет. Такой была моя жизнь и я скажу что это все было очень хорошо. Всегда изучал город, обнаружить новые места в Одессе. Но больше всего, Одесса было для меня – народ!

Odessa DeribasovskayaВсё же дух Одессы по-прежнему там, я знаю это. Я получаю столько сообщений от людей в Одессе. Это действительно город герой. Настоящие народ Одессы – герои.

Я уверен, наступит день и я вернусь, чтобы отдать дань памяти тем, кто боролся против фашизма в этой новой, «пост-Евромайданной» Украине в одном из ее городов, в Одессе. В городе, в котором они родились, и в котором погибли гордыми, дерзкими, овеянными славой.

Я надеюсь присоединиться к Вам, моим друзьям, которых больше нет с нами, я буду вас вспоминать, как и мои друзья, которые никогда не признают фашизм. Наступит день, когда Одесса вновь будет свободна.

Мая 2 – мы не простим. Мы помним.


Спасибо за помощь Света и Наташа

Мое возвращение на работу в Донбасс!

Грэм Филлипс

Последние 2 месяца я был в Лондоне, очень хорошо провел время в городе, в котором жил и работал 10 лет. Проводил время с семьей, друзьями, дважды был на стадионе Уэмбли, ездил по Лондону, смотрел любимые шоу – Английский-шоу, и мне очень нравятся Давай Поженимся!

Graham and dad

Я готов вернуться на работу в Донбасс, где с августа 2014 по февраль 2015 я провел долгие 6 с половиной месяцев до моего возвращения в Лондон в марте.

Подал документы на визу в Российскую федерацию. Я планирую быть в Москве на 9 мая, отметить и снять на видео День Победы, а затем прямо на Донбасс и в Донецк, мой шлем, бронежилет и рабочее оборудование там, срочно возвращаюсь к работе.

Я поеду на своей машине Ровер 75, полной гуманитарной помощью для Донбасса, собранной в Лондоне. До этого я 3 раза ездил на Украину и через Украину. На этот раз я буду ехать на Донбасс через Россию. В 2014 году меня дважды депортировали из Украины, по единственной причине – я распространял новости неудобные для киевского правительства. По этой же причине в июле 2014 года меня объявили “персоной нон-грата” в Украине
на 3 года.

Я не считаю запрет на въезд в Украину для меня действительным, поскольку мне не были выданы официальные документы и в паспорте не была поставлена Oles Buzina“отметка о неблагонадежности”. Киевские власти несколько раз меняли причину, по которой меня выслали из Украины – все они были ерундой.

Тем не менее, я отдаю себе отчет в сложившейся ситуации на Украине. Беззаконное государство, где оппозиционеров выслеживают и убивают, как недавно был убит выступавший против войны журналист Олесь Бузина.

Учитывая степень настроенности против меня на Украине по причине моих репортажей о событиях на Донбассе и несогласие с этим правительства Киева, нет сомнений в том, что любая поездка на Украину будет самоубийством.

Я не согласен с государственной политикой Киева – репрессии, которые равноценны терроризму на государственном уровне, с помощью которой они Graham at work1хотят одержать победу. Я намерен продолжить работу на Донбассе. Ни один другой западный корреспондент не сообщал новости оттуда раньше или больше, чем я. Я очень рад что возвращаюсь на работу на Донбасс на следующей неделе!

Независимо от того с какой бы стороны не освещала “про-Евромайданнная” Украина мои отношения с Российским государством или консульством, они являются отношениями нормального британского гражданина с Российским государством. Я обращаюсь за получением визы с соответствующими документами, фотографиями паспорта, и надеюсь, что заявление будет одобрено, как это уже однажды было. Мой опыт общения с российским посольством и консульством всегда был положительным – профессиональным и эффективным, для меня нет никакого ‘специального режима’. Я предоставляю те же самые документы как кто-либо еще и плачу тот же самый визовый сбор.

По правде говоря, некоторые сотрудники в российском консульстве знают меня и Graham Londonна личном уровне дружески относятся ко мне и поддерживают мою работу по освещению правды с территории Донбасса. Они просто хорошие люди.

Разумеется, меня жёстко критиковала украинская сторона, видя, что моя работа делает многое, чтобы разрушить их ложь, которая поддерживается на Украине. И моя работа высоко ценилась в России (см. слева одну из таких, присланных мне из России, милых вещей), которая видела во мне независимого западного корреспондента, который сообщает правду в мире западных корреспондентов, давно уже пожертвовавшими понятиями журналисткой чести, и атакуют Россию ради своей карьеры или служат своему государству.

Меня действительно мало беспокоят беспрерывные нападки на меня Graham Donbass“сторонников Украины”. И я очень благодарен за поддержку и доброту ко мне русских людей и людей во всем мире. Однако ни враждебность, ни симпатия не дают мне права принадлежать к какой либо стороне. Я остаюсь абсолютно объективным, нейтральным корреспондентом.

Итак, я возвращаюсь для продолжения работы. В дополнение к этому рад сообщить, что мне удалось собрать более чем $5000 на моём посвящённом Донбассу благотворительном мероприятии в Лондоне, а также от сбора средств онлайн и онлайн-магазина в поддержку Донбасса, и ещё больше я рад, что могу помочь Лилии – девушке, ампутант, пострадавшей от артобстрела.P1230109

Я абсолютно убеждён, что будучи журналистом, можно записывать репортажи и одновременно делать добрые дела. Я буду сообщать новости с Донбасса, а также распределять и снимать материалы о распределении гуманитарной помощи, так великодушно переданной многими людьми в поддержку гражданским жителям Донбасса.

Перед отъездом, рано утром 7-го мая, я сделаю то, что считаю чрезвычайно важными – я буду голосовать выборах в Великобритании. Я люблю Соединенное Королевство и я призываю всех, кто может голосовать, отдать свой голос за будущее нашего великого народа.

Затем буду в Москве на 9-е мая в День Победы – то, что я с нетерпением жду, а затем возвращаюсь, чтобы работать на Донбассе!

На этом всё. Мы продолжаем!


Спасибо Ира Миронова и Наташа Фрейтаг за помощь!

My Return to Work in Donbass

Graham W Phillips

Graham and dadI’ve spent the last 2 months in London, and had a truly wonderful time in this city in which I lived and worked for 10 years. I’ve spent time with family (that’s my dad, btw), friends, been to Wembley – twice, been around London, watched a lot of favourite shows Come Dine with Me, Dinner Date, Grand Designs, and more.

For some time, I have been ready, and preparing to return to work in Donbass, where, from August 2014 to February 2015 I spent a continuous 6 1/2 months, before my return to London in March.

To this end, I applied for a visa for the Russian federation. My plan is to be in Moscow on May 9th, to commemorate, photograph and film, Victory Day there, and then Graham at workproceed directly to Donbass, and Donetsk – my helmet, bulletproof jacket, and working equipment are there, and I’ll immediately return to work.

I’ll be travelling by my car, a Rover 75, full of humanitarian aid for Donbass donated in London. I’ve driven to Ukraine, and through Ukraine 3 times before. However, this time, as above, I’ll be driving through Russia to my destination of Donbass. I was deported from Ukraine twice in 2014, for no reason other than reporting news inconvenient to the Kiev government. I was banned from Ukraine for three years, in July of 2014, for the same reason.

I don’t consider this ban valid – I was given neither official documentation, nor any kind of ‘black mark’ in my passport. The reasons given by the Kiev authorities for my ban changed several times – they were consistent only in all being nonsense.

However, I am aware of the current situation in Ukraine. A lawless state where Oles Buzinaperceived opposition figures are hunted and killed, most recently, anti-war journalist Oles Buzina (pictured). There is no question that, given the degree of sentiment against me in Ukraine due to my reporting events in Donbass not agreeable to the Kiev government, any trip into Ukraine would be a suicide mission.

Yet I don’t agree in letting the Kiev government tactics of repression, tantamount to state terrorism, win. I’m committed to working in Donbass. No other western correspondent has reported there either earlier, or longer, than myself. I’m very excited Graham at work1about returning to work there next week!

Despite what the pro-Euromaidan/Ukraine side would perpetuate, my relationship with the Russian state, consulate, is that of a normal British citizen with the Russian state. I apply for a visa, with the relevant documentation, passport photos, and hope that application is approved, as this one has been. My experiences of the Russian embassy and consulate have always been positive – professional, efficient, however there is no ‘special treatment’. I submit the same documentation as anyone else, pay the same visa fee.

True to say, some in the Russian consulate know me, and on a personal level have been friendly to me, and supportive of my work in bringing the truth out of Donbass. They are simply nice people. Of course I’ve been vilified by a Ukraine which has seen Graham Londonmy work do much to shatter their falsehoods and lies which support, and purport, the Ukrainian position. And I’ve been appreciated in a Russia (one of many nice things sent to me from Russia, left) which has seen in me an independent western correspondent who has reported the truth, in a world of western correspondents who long since sacrificed that concept that to blanket attack Russia, either to further their career, or serve their state.

I am not really bothered about the relentless attacks on me by ‘pro-Ukraine’ supporters. And I’m very grateful for the support, kindness, from Russian people, people across the Graham Donbassworld in fact. However neither animosity nor affinity give me any affiliation. I’m a completely objective, neutral correspondent.

In my last time in Donbass, I was most often referred to as a ‘war correspondent’, but do not read in my return any indication that I will be returning in that capacity. I would be much happier to be a ‘peace’ correspondent.

So, I get back to work as a correspondent. On top of this, I am delighted to have over £3400 raised at my Donbass event in London, more from online fundraising and the Support Donbass shop, and still more to help a shelling victim, amputee, Lilya.

I absolutely believe in the capacity of a journalist both to report, and to do good. I’ll be P1230109reporting news in Donbass, and distributing, filming distribution of, the humanitarian aid so generously given by so many to help the civilians of Donbass.

Before leaving, early morning on May 7th, I’ll be doing something I consider enormously important – voting in the UK election. I love the United Kingdom, and I urge all who can to vote, have their say in the future of our great nation.

Then, Moscow on May 9th, Victory Day, something I’m hugely looking forward to – as well as getting back to work in Donbass!

So, that’s that, and we crack on!

Exclusive Mikael Skillt Interview #AskMikaelSkillt

Swede Mikael Skillt, a senior member of Ukraine’s notorious Azov battalion, first came to my attention in July of last year, in a rare BBC article covering extremism on the Ukrainian side, extracts here –

Mikael Skillt 1 The appearance of far-right activists, both foreign and home-grown, among the Ukrainian volunteers fighting in east Ukraine is causing unease….

As to his political views, Mr Skillt prefers to call himself a nationalist, but in fact his views are typical of a neo-Nazi….

Mr Skillt believes races should not mix. He says the Jews are not white and should not mix with white people. His next project is to go fight for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad because he believes Mr Assad is standing up to “international Zionism”.

He came to my attention on Twitter last August, as I re-entered Donbass to continue reporting, after my 2nd deportation from Ukraine. Our first ‘conversation’ came in November, and consisted of a thinly-veiled wish for my death, from Mikael – and a robust reply from mine –

Fullscreen capture 29042015 201256.bmpHowever, that was then. In my capacity as a ‘controversial’, correspondent, I receive a volume of death threats and general abuse from ‘pro-Ukrainians’ which would at least provide part-time employment for a PA, if chose to respond to them. This reached a peak after my shrapnel wound in November of 2014. However, Mikael did not add to this, and by December 10th, we had our first ‘polite‘ exchange.

Fullscreen capture 29042015 211415.bmp

Since then, we have had dozens of interactions on Twitter. Despite a mutual disagreement with each other, on the ‘issues’, our interactions have been characterised Mikael Skilltby a civility hardly associated with Twitter and dialogue between those holding such differing views. Leaving his political views, affiliations, and actions out of the equation, my experience of Mikael Skillt is an intelligent man, capable of politeness, charm even.

No question that Mikael Skillt is a man of extreme interest, and I’ve yet to see an interview with the 38-year old from Sundsvall, on the Swedish coast, which answers the questions I’d like to ask him.

More to the point, the questions you no doubt would like to ask him. And now you can. Mikael has agreed to an interactive Twitter interview this Sunday. All the questions, with answers, will be published here on the Truth Speaker. Here’s what you need to do, to get involved –

SkilltTime: Sunday 16:00 GMT – May 3rd, 2015

Duration: One hour

Twitter Format: Your Question Here? @MikaelSkillt @GrahamWP_UK #AskMikaelSkillt

Language: English

Rules: Mikael has said he won’t respond to one-liners calling him a ‘nazi’ or so. I would ask that you do ask questions, rather than abuse. We have one hour here with a man who clearly has a lot to say, let’s use it constructively!

Mikael has also said he won’t ask questions which impact on military intelligence. However, I say that you can ask absolutely anything which interests you – it’s Mikael’s choice if he chooses not to answer.

That’s all – see you Sunday, let’s make it a good one! Graham

Who is Stepan Bandera?

Graham Phillips

On Sunday, I went along to the Stepan Bandera museum in north London. Apparently open in London for over 50 years. That Sunday saw perhaps the museum achieve the most Fullscreen capture 28042015 175511.bmpcoverage in its half-century term, as I was physically denied entrance to the premises, housed in an Islington townhouse.

Attention descended on the museum, and the man behind it, unknown to many in the western world – so just who is Stepan Bandera?

Stepan BanderaStepan Andriyovych Bandera was born in Ukraine’s western village of Staryi Uhryniv to a clerical family. Politicised from an early age, Bandera rose through activist, scout, up to leader of the Ukrainian nationalist movement. Well-known through Ukraine in his life, primarily for being responsible for the proclamation of an Independent Ukrainian State in Lvov in 1941, his fame to some, notoriety to others, grew to such an extent after his 1959 KGB assassination that then-President Viktor Yushchenko attempted to award him the Hero of Ukraine accolade as one of his final acts in power, in 2010. It was annulled a year later by then new President Viktor Yanukovych.

Bandera KievTo pro-Ukrainians, though, Bandera is a hero and veneration him was already rising in Ukraine before, over 50 years dead, he became one of the most prominent figures of Euromaidan, left, hanging in Kiev’s central administrative building even. German historian Grzegorz Rossolinski-Liebe believes the mythologising of Bandera began in Canada after his death as a way of bonding the separate Ukrainian diaspora, so keen to have a ‘hero’ they could identify as Ukrainian they were prepared to overlook all else. Over time, with the active hold Canadian expat Ukrainians exert over Ukraine, (Stepan Bandera’s grandson, Stephen, along with other Bandera relatives, lives over there), the Stepan Bandera youngcult of Bandera found its way back to Ukraine, with inconvenient facts of Bandera’s life pushed aside by the new Bandera mythology.

To get back to Bandera facts – from boyhood he was involved with Ukrainian ultra-nationalist organisations, rising through the ranks to become chief propaganda officer of the OUN in 1931, active in recruiting Ukrainian nationalists in both western and eastern Ukraine. By 1932 he was second in command of OUN in Galicia, and 1933 head of the OUN.

Along with other Ukrainian ultra-nationalists,

Roman Shukhevych, Stepan Lenkavsky, Yaroslav Stetsko, Yaroslav Starukh, Bandera was key in developing the concept of “permanent revolution” in Ukraine. This took the premise that GaliciaUkrainian people would always be exploited by an ‘occupier’, revolution would be required to overthrow that system, and then another once the inevitable ‘exploitation’ emerged again, and so on.

After becoming head of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists, OUN, in 1933, Bandera set about either converting to his cause, or driving out the Poles and Soviets in the at the time disputed territory of Galicia (above left – much now subsumed as west Ukraine). This policy failed to have his desired effect in obtaining autonomy for the region. Bandera then turned to an attempt at assassination, plotting to do away with Polish minister of internal affairs, Bronisław Pieracki – it failed, he got caught, and sentenced to death for that.

Andriy Melnyk Stepan BanderaBy the time of his arrest and subsequent imprisonment, in 1934, Bandera‘s political career had long moved to the insurgent terrorism he had chosen as the method of achieving an independent Ukrainian state. Death sentence commuted to life, then released after five years, after agreeing unconditionally to cooperate with Nazi Germany, in 1939, Bandera headed straight to occupied Krakow, capital of Nazi Germany’s General Government. However, there he failed to regain control of his former organisation, the OUN, falling out with current leader, Andriy Melnyk (the two pictured, above left).

Bandera OUNAs a result of the fallout, the OUN (right) split into two, as Andriy Melnyk who had been leading the organisation, refused to endorse Bandera’s intent to actively seek Nazi collaboration. So it was, the OUN split and Bandera’s OUN-B sought out Nazi partnership. Breaking away from the more conservative Melnyk, Bandera formed the OUN-B (to Melnyk’s OUN-M), and set about full integration with Nazi German forces. Bandera himself held meetings with the heads of Germany’s intelligence, with the aim of forming battalions ‘Nachtigall‘ and ‘Roland‘, comprising Ukrainian OUN members, loyal to the Nazis.

February 25, 1941 saw head of the Abwehr, Wilhelm Franz Canaris sanctioning the creating of “Ukrainian Legion”, to comprise 800 fighters, fighting as part of Nazi Germany’s forces, under Shukhevych. Bandera himself oversaw the formation of small units of the OUN-B, named ‘Mobile Groups’, comprising teams of 5-15 members who would travel around Western Ukraine and beyond spreading propaganda and recruiting. The recruitment pitch shared a Nazi platform – with anti-Semitism at its core, the difference being that supposedly an independent Ukraine would be allowed to exist Nazi Ukraineindependently alongside any German super-nation.

The tactic was successful, with the mobile groups some 7000 strong, recruiting waves of fighters, and support for the Nazis spreading across Western Ukraine, with towns in the west turning out in force to greet Nazi forces (left), even to parts of the capital of Kiev, and prominent Western Ukrainian literary figures lending their support, notably the duo of Ivan Bahrianyi and Vasyl Barka.

In early 1941, the Nachtigall unit was formed, under Bandera, and outfitted in the standard Wehrmacht uniforms, placing blue and yellow ribbons on their shoulders. Their aims were outlined in a May 1941 Krakow meeting: “Moskali (derogatory term for Russians), Poles, Jews are hostile to us must be exterminated in this struggle, especially those who would resist our regime: deport them to their own lands, Lvov pogromimportantly: destroy their intelligentsia that may be in the positions of power … Jews must be isolated, removed from governmental positions in order to prevent sabotage, those who are deemed necessary may only work with an overseer… Jewish assimilation is not possible.

So it was, the OUN-B followed behind the Nazi invasion into Ukraine. Bandera and his Nachtigall battalion have been accused of a particularly ruthless approach towards the extermination of the Jews, Poles, and Russians they viewed as the enemy. On June 30, emboldened by a Ukraine which looked like it was falling to the Nazis, the OUN-B, led by Bandera, declared an independent Ukrainian State from Lvov, stating that it would work closely with Hitler and the Nazis to form the ‘new order in Europe’. The first Lvov Bandera tangible manifestation of this was the ‘Lvov Pogrom‘, the mass extermination of Jews and Poles which took places from 30th June to 2nd July, murdering a number estimated as high as 10s of thousands. (Photos from pogrom).

Bandera’s Nachtigall battalion, and Bandera himself, were actively involved in this pogrom, with reports that the Nazis themselves were shocked at their brutality in execution. This independent ‘Ukrainian state’ lasted less than a week, with Bandera arrested by the Nazis, who had duped the gullible 32-year-old at the time, into believing they supported an independent Ukrainian state. Of course, they simply wanted to ease their passage into occupying Ukraine.

Bandera himself was arrested on July 5th 1941 and taken to prison in Berlin. The Germans treated Bandera well, but he was a prisoner, not allowed to leave Berlin for Zellenbauthe remainder of 1941, then in January 1942, transferred to Sachsenhausen concentration camp’s special barrack for high profile political prisoners, Zellenbau (left). Bandera made no attempts to escape from here, watching on in comfort as hundreds of thousands of his countrymen perished in conflict.

He spent most of the next 3 years in prison, albeit with special treatment after indicating ongoing willingness to help the Nazis. He had access to a radio in prison, and even Bandera Stepancertain communication with the outside world, so by 1944, he knew the Nazis were losing. Actually, the military branch of his own OUN, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, UIA, had even changed sides to start fight against the Germans in early 1943. Yet, when Bandera was approached in April 1944, he enthusiastically agreed to throw himself into the Nazi effort, released in September of 1944, setting up office in Berlin arranging supplies of arms and intelligence in an attempt to enlist the Ukrainians once more to fight for the fast-losing Nazis.

Yet, by this time, most of them were dead or had switched sides. The seeds sown by the OUN-B’s dissemination of anti-Semitic propaganda had seen Ukraine engage in Babi Yarseveral atrocities against Jews during the war, most shockingly perhaps the Babi Yar massacres (right – more on them here). Bandera’s re-recruitment attempt was unsuccessful, the war finished just a few months later, seeing Nazi defeat and Bandera revert to civilian life. Sort of.

As for Bandera’s family, reports that Bandera’s brother Bogdan was killed by the Nazis, are unconfirmed. His brothers Oleksandr and brother Vasyl (below left) were killed in Auschwitz, with Bandera acolytes having observed over the years that Stepan could hardly endorse a regime which had Vasyl_Bandera_in_Auschwitzexecuted his brothers. In reality, evidence points to them being killed by Polish inmates who discovered their identity. It is known Bandera’s father was executed by the Germans, though it is reported his father did not share Stepan’s extreme politics and some have suggested he was executed for harbouring a member of the OUN opposed to the Nazis. This was the month before Stepan proclaimed Ukrainian independence in Lvov.

The remainder of the 40s and early 50s, saw Stepan Bandera, working for the German equivalent of the CIA, giving freelance spy training for infiltration into the Soviet Union. Bandera had met his future wife, Yaroslava Yaroslava Bandera(pictured right), in Krakow in 1940, with her at 22 already a seasoned activist for the Ukrainian cause. The two married in June of that year and had three children, Natalia, born 1941, Andrei (year of birth given as 1944 or 1946), Lesya 1947. Bandera was never able to take adequate care of his family, with Natalia having spoken of a childhood of assumed names, hiding, living in cabins in forests, going for long periods of time without seeing her father, subsisting on inadequate food.

In 1954, Yaroslava and the children joined Stepan in Munich. Yet, life for the family was still tough here. Post war, the Germans were willing to leave Bandera alone, the western forces to occasionally use him for espionage assistance. But the Soviets had not forgotten Bandera, with repeated attempts made on his life over the years. In 1959, these reached an apotheosis, with German police arresting a man seen taking a Bandera assassinationsuspicious interest in Bandera’s children. Bandera was given extra security, but strongly advised to leave Munich, which he declined to do.

On October 15th, 1959, Bandera was killed in his own apartment, by KGB assassin Bogdan Stashinsky, who had been watching him since January, but intensely for several days. Despite this, the (in Stashinsky descriptions) ‘short, bald, blue-eyed’ Bandera (living under the named Stepan Popel) had let his bodyguards off that day. As Stashinsky produced his cyanide gun inside a rolled-up newspaper, Bandera’s last words, as he held his shopping, were the rather redundant “What are you doing here?” Bandera didn’t even produce his own gun, on him at all times, with him a proficient marksman (he had taken an active part in the Lvov pogrom). Shot in the face, quickly turning purple, then black, the 50-year-old Bandera died on a third-floor landing before the ambulance had even arrived.

Bandera’s wife and children, upon his death, quickly moved to Toronto to start a new life. Bandera had politicized his children from infanthood, yet it was only after his death they learned they were Banderas, not Popels. Natalia took some part in Ukrainian Stephen Banderamovements, yet unable to recover from the health problems of their childhood, Natalia died in 1985 at 44, she had two children, Sophia, born 1972 and Orestes, 1975. Andrei, Andrew, took an active role in the Ukrainian diaspora, forming several organisations, a newspaper ‘Ukrainian Echo’, and arranging mass demonstrations. With his wife Mary, he had three children, Stepan (Stephen, Steve – right), 1970, Bogdana, 1974, and Helen, in 1977.

Stephen, Steve, who has tried to forge a career as a journalist, has been the most vocal defender of his grandfather, accusing others of unwarranted attacks on the grandfather he frequently referred to as a ‘hero’. However, his actions on behalf of him seem to have waned in recent years. Steve previously did extensive ‘historical’ work to exonerate his grandfather, though his fallback position was always that no one really knows the truth: ‘an accurate account of Ukraine’s 20th century history remains largely unwritten.’ Sadly for ‘Steve’, countless, verified, articles of history exist from that time.

Suffering health problems, Andrei died in 1984 at either 38 or 40, depending on sources. Lesya, who worked as an interpreter for Ukrainian organisations and had no children, lived on to the age of 64, dying in 2011. Yaroslava had died in 1977 at the age Stepan Bandera stampof 59. Despite his wish to be returned to Ukraine in death, Bandera was buried in Munich, where he remains to this day, his burial place the subject of several recent attacks.

Even in death, Bandera’s fortunes have been little better than life. In 2009, to mark 100 years of his birth, he was put on a stamp (right), which many outlets in Ukraine refused to stock. Then, on January 22nd, Ukraine’s Day of Unity, in 2010, Viktor Yushchenko, in his final weeks as President, attempted to use the controversial figure (in Ukraine as a whole, pre-Euromaidan, only 6% had a strongly positive opinion of him, as high as 37% in the west, down to 1% in parts of the east), as a last stand, and two-fingered farewell. Bandera was made a Hero of Ukraine, with grandson Stephen accepting the award on his behalf.

Bandera NaziThe award was internationally condemned, not to mention widely ridiculed (left) with other Hero of Ukraine holders speaking out of their wish to renounce the award, even criticised by the European Parliament. Bandera held it for less than a year, it was annulled on January 12th 2011, by then new President Yanukovych. There had been talk of huge uprisings across the country if the award was annulled, but in these pre-Euromaidan days of calm in Ukraine, that didn’t materialise.

As for his tangible legacy, statues of Bandera, several exist in the West of Ukraine, Bandera Lvovhave enjoyed mixed fortunes. One near Lvov was destroyed in 2013, the Lvov statue itself, unveiled in 2012, cost double the projected amount, $1.2 million, with sources indicating substandard materials used in the finished article.

And then of course, his museum in London, of which more to come. A strange, closed doors museum with admittance only to those on a pre-approved list. Those pro-Ukrainians who go attempting to find vindication for their reverence for Bandera in a museum of revisionism, in which Bandera appears as a ‘hero’, rather than what he was – an unapologetic, ruthless, failure-prone Nazi collaborator.

Bandera museum

The Truth Speaker at 200 – in Numbers

Fullscreen capture 28042015 225633.bmp482,530 – the ranking of the Truth Speaker in the world’s websites. Sounds pretty low, but with some 644 million websites in the world, it’s comfortably within the top 0.1%. Let’s focus on cracking the top 100,000 next!

270k – As you read this, The Truth Speaker will be approaching that number of hits

105k – Hits from Russia – the number 1 country for hits

85,276 – Hits on the Truth Speaker in record month so far, February

42k – Hits from Ukraine, number 2 country for Truth Speaker hits

Fullscreen capture 28042015 225644.bmp17k – Around 17k hits each from the United States, and United Kingdom

12,238 – The record number of hits in a day, January 27th, 2015 (the first day of the Truth Speaker)

11,340 – Hits on the most popular article here, the Russian version of my 20 Worst Photos from Donbass

3046 – Hits per day in record month, February

Fullscreen capture 28042015 225655.bmp475 – Comments left on the Truth Speaker

200 – The number of articles. This, the 200th no less!

165 – The Truth Speaker has been viewed from 165 countries

91 – The Truth Speaker is 91 days old. The first articles were published here on January 27th, 2015.

32 – Hits on the least popular article, the Russian version of Zakharchenko and Plotnitsky’s press conference

Fullscreen capture 28042015 225749.bmpOver a dozen – stories have been broken, first, exclusive on the Truth Speaker!

7 – Languages the Truth Speaker has been published in – English, Russian, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Serbian

5 – The number of people who’ve written articles for The Truth Speaker

1 – 1 view from each of these countries – Belize, Seychelles, French Polynesia, Burundi, Niger, Myanmar (Burma), St. Martin, Turks & Caicos Islands, Monaco, Guyana, Guinea, Aruba, Brunei, Bermuda, Rwanda, Congo, Zambia, Tongo, Fiji, Liya, Liechtenstein.

No set number – I can’t say how many people exactly have contributed, supported the Truth Speaker – either by translating, writing, sharing, even just reading. I’m hugely grateful to you.

And on we go to 201 soon, all the best, Graham Phillips, editor