My 3-Year Ban from Ukraine Has Now Expired: Statement

My 3-year- ban from Ukraine has now expired, and I’m legally free to enter Ukraine again.

I have no current plans to do this, the radicals and terrorists there are unlikely to pay much heed to my having served the ban, and even obeyed it – I did not once go into Ukrainian territory in this time.

However, it can’t be used to ‘discredit’ my work from Donbass any more by the BBC, other propagandists.

I am now not banned from Ukraine, and work in Donbass just like any other journalist.

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

Exclusive: How the UK are trying to Stop my Work: Full Story

I’ve never really blown this up before, because I generally believe in getting on with my work without fuss. However, to pre-empt anything which may be, I believe it’s time to get this in the public domain.

Brief overview: 

I was living in Odessa at the time of Euromaidan in late 2013, having previously lived 2 years in Kiev. Working as a freelance journalist, doing some English teaching to pay bills. My position on Maidan differed to other journalists due to what I’d seen in Kiev myself in my time living there. So, not receiving offers to cover Maidan, I started blogging about Euromaidan in November 2013, filmed there in January 2014, and went on from there – filming and reporting for my YouTube channel, doing occasional interviews for RT. In March of 2014, I went to Crimea to report for myself, having already travelled around all of the, then, east Ukraine.

In April, RT asked me to go to Donetsk for a week’s work. I went, continued working for them until July of 2014, after my 2nd deportation.

I went back to Donbass, of my own volition, in August of 2014, and continued working there. I accepted an offer to work, on a freelance contract with Russian channel Zvezda, in September, and worked with them until I ended our working relationship in March of 2015.

Since then, I’ve worked entirely for myself, via crowdfunding, in Donbass, Russia, across Europe, and the UK.

The UK Government, and Myself

My first contact with the UK government was after my 2nd deportation from Ukraine, in July of 2014, when I asked for their help. They flatly refused to give their help – 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2015/09/17/when-the-uks-fco-couldnt-help-british-journalists/

Yet, in similar circumstances, they did everything they could to help BBC journalists… 

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/04/06/the-uks-fco-there-to-help-immediately-if-youre-the-bbc/

On the 18th February, the FCO wrote this to me: 

Dear Graham

We have been alerted to a number of social media updates that have caused some to raise questions about your presence in Ukraine in a journalistic capacity.

Particular things that have raised concerns include being photographed while wearing military uniforms, separatist insignia, or holding firearms. We are very concerned that you may be putting yourself in danger through these types of activities which could be seen as a blurring of the line between journalism and active involvement in a conflict.

I can only repeat that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises against all travel to Crimea, Donetsk oblast and Lugansk oblast. We advise against all but essential travel to Kharkiv oblast. Our travel advice is available here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine. As we have previously discussed with you, we recommend that British Nationals leave these areas.

Your safety, and that of other British Nationals is a priority for us. Although we are not able to provide consular services within these areas, please do not hesitate to contact us either in London or at the British Embassy in Kyiv if you require consular assistance.

Sarah Winter
Consular Directorate
Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Now, this is dressed up as concern, which I took as being entirely insincere, given the refusal of the FCO to do anything to help me after my deportations.  And they key part here: photographed while wearing military uniforms, separatist insignia, or holding firearms.

You may like or not like that I’ve done, and do that, but I’ve always been quite clear about the reasons for it: military uniforms when at positions so as not to attract danger to those I’m with by wearing more visible colours. Firearms, because I was doing reportage on firing drills, and as I always do, got as close to the action as possible (within reasonable boundaries) – by joining in.

The message from the FCO was clear in any case: We don’t like what you’re doing, stop it. 

I replied, making the above points, to which the FCO didn’t reply. However, when I returned to the UK, Heathrow, on March 4th of 2015, after a near seven-month spell working in Donbass, what I believe to be a senior member of the British special services was waiting for me, and questioned me for 4 hours.

The interrogation, where I was held under the Section 7 terrorism act, was extensive, covering my working, and personal life. It was also, at times, provocative, with my being asked ‘why I was producing Russian propaganda?’, and even ‘why was I lying about events in Crimea, and Donbass?’.

The second one in particular produced a visceral response, where I defended my work: I was always on the scene, I always report the truth, with full integrity. How dare someone who has got all his information from second-hand, biased sources, accuse me, who had been there and seen for myself, of propaganda! After this, probably outburst, my interrogator momentarily chuckled, and said he ‘had to ask that’.

About my personal life, I have no secrets, and gave information already in the public domain. The same for my working life, no secrets, and I gave no information not in the public domain. My laptop was taken away for the duration of the interview, and returned to me after. It was old, and damaged, in any case I binned it shortly after. There was no confidential information on it.

I was released after 4 hours, with the special services operative making it clear that he’d been sent to do a job, even kind of apologising. It had neither been particularly stressful, or intense. It was just a bit inconvenient, my mum was waiting for me, I was already tired from speaking to the MH17 investigation for 6 hours that day.

But, ok, that was that. No one touched or bothered me in those couple of months back in the UK, and in fact I had no further contact with the FCO until I was arrested, and deported, from Latvia, in early 2016 – the powers hadn’t liked the way I’d covered a pro-Nazi demonstration there.

During my detention, I know that people called the UK FCO on my behalf. They said they were ‘aware of the situation‘, ‘doing what they could‘, etc. But they didn’t do anything to help me, and when I wrote to them after, also didn’t do anything to help me.

In September of 2016, a scandal kicked off, after some objected to the way I’d questioned Ukrainian terrorist Vladimir Zhemchugov. Judith Gough, UK ambassador to Ukraine, responded as such:

UK has no grounds to ban journalist Phillips from leaving his country – ambassador

British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough has said she was appalled by the behavior of British journalist Graham Phillips during the release of Ukrainian captive Volodymyr Zhemchuhov, however the UK government has no reason to prohibit him from leaving the country.

In a statement published on the official Facebook page of the UK Embassy in Ukraine on Friday, Gough said she watched the video of the prisoner exchange and was appalled by Graham Phillips’ behavior towards Zhemchuhov.

She noted that a lot of people called on the UK to deprive Phillips of the British passport. However, the UK government does not have sufficient grounds to do this. Phillips did not commit any offenses in the UK, which could become the basis for the British government to ban him from leaving the country, Gough said. If he violated Ukrainian legislation, it is up to the Ukrainian authorities to decide on appropriate actions in relation to Phillips in Ukraine, she added.

So, that’s that. But, things have been changing recently, as the UK publicly, sharply ups its support for Ukraine, with stronger statements of support, and increased military backing, and looks to take out anything non-aligned with that position, while sending out an aggressive message – the recent imprisoning of Ben Stimson, and the updating of travel advice to Ukraine. Specifically they’ve extended the threat of punishment to those who may ‘assist those engaged in conflict’. What’s the definition of ‘assisting’? They don’t say.

And now, it seems, they’ve come for me. The BBC have been sent to do a hit piece on me, read about that here. And that would then pave the way for the UK government to take action against me, knowing that any public outcry has been allayed. It wouldn’t be ‘action against a journalist‘, they’d make it ‘action against a Russian propagandist‘, and of course, the purpose of the BBC fishing trip, was for me to state on the record that I’m ‘returning to Donbass‘. Then it’s ‘Russian propagandist banned from Ukraine as threat to state security stopped at UK border as he attempts to return‘, and most people, knowing nothing of the real facts, have no problem with that.

So, that’s the story of what’s been, with myself and the UK authorities, and I’m not only ready for what’s to come, I’m determined they’re not going to get away with it.

Oh, and just as you’ll be reading this, in UK authority, my 3-year-ban from Ukraine official ends on July 26th, by the way. You’re late, clumsy, out of shape, out of luck.

My Recent Donbass Period of Work: 25 Key Moments

I recently completed a 2-month period of work in Donbass. There will be even more reportage to come from that, but I wanted to put together a ‘top 10’ of key moments, however so many there were, we’re at 25, and this just in English.

All my work is funded by your support, via crowdfunding, to be involved, click here. 

Huge thanks to all of you, who’ve supported my work. I’ll be doing a new video to thank you soon!

1. The completion, with Oleg Somov, of my film, Irina Gurtyak, a journalist’s story, now with full English subtitles, by Vitaly Chernichenko –

And presentation in Lugansk – 

2. Bringing you reportage from the frontiers, the places other journalists don’t venture!Graham – Special Reportage (#11) A Tour Through Donetskiy, LPR Frontier, After Ukrainian Shelling

One of my main points of focus, was bringing you as much English-language reportage as possible, to show you how things really there, in spoken English!

3. Ronald van Amerongen, the Dutchman in Donbass, speaks – 

4. An English-lanaguage interview with Donetsk residents, about how things really are in Donetsk!

I brought you unique reportage from the frontlines, and frontier settlements…

5. Graham in Donbass (#47) Going to the LPR Furthest Frontline Position Today

6. Graham – Special Reportage (#12) Trip to the Donbass Wartorn Village of Nikishino

7. Interview with a Russian Volunteer Fighter in Donbass, LPR (Eng subs)

And back to English-language interviews – 

8. English Interview from Lugansk – Miss Elegance, in Miss Lugansk People’s Republic

Back to the frontline – 

9. LPR Militia Fighters Talk about WWII Monument, by LPR Frontlines, Donbass

10. Graham in Donbass (#38) Donbass – LPR – Frontlines, and What Victory Day Means to the Militia

11. A couple of videos from a spectacular Victory Day, in Lugansk!!

12. And from an also spectacular Miss LPR contest, in Lugansk! Here, a Crimea tribute –

Here, interviews with 5 of the girls, with full English subs – 

13. Back to Donetsk, and a spectacular drone look as 1000 lanterns were released into the night sky to mark children killed in war, in Donbass.

On the theme of 1st June, International Protector of Children Day, I went to Gorlovka to speak to kids wounded in war, here, with English subtitles.

14. Gorlovka, Donbass Children Speak about Being Wounded by Ukrainian Shelling in War

15. Interview with Liza, 3, wounded by Ukrainian shelling, her mother killed on spot.

Knowing it was a hot-zone, I wanted to go to report from Kominternovo –

16. Driving over 100km in the Donetsk People’s Republic, from Donetsk to Kominternovo (frontier)

17. An Introduction Tour to the DPR Frontier Village of Kominternovo

18. 60 Seconds in the DPR Village of Kominternovo, under Ukrainian shelling



Night and Morning in the Village of Kominternovo, Donbass, DPR

19. Kominternovo man: “Shelling (by Ukrainian forces) started suddenly, without any provocation”

Kominternovo: “The OSCE said ‘everyone knows that Poroshenko is killing his own people'”

Showing you Donbass at work, here, Lugansk!

20. Graham – Special Reportage (#14) My Day in a Lugansk Bread Factory

A French delegation visiting Donbass!

21. French Delegation in the Donetsk People’s Republic (#1) Visit to a Donetsk Hospital

Debunking Ukrainian misinformation

22. Donetsk People’s Republic Reaction to claims by Ukraine’s Mariana Betsa

Bringing you breaking news reports of terrorist attacks in Lugansk –

23. Lugansk, Explosion Goes off in City Centre Today, 1 Killed, 5 Wounded

17:00 – Aftermath of 2nd Explosion in Lugansk, Donbass Today

Showing you real videos of how life really is in Donbass:

24. Last School Bell for Junior Class in Lugansk, Lugansk People’s Republic, School 60

Lugansk, The Final Bell for Sixth Formers, School 60, 60 Minutes Uncut

And with your help, helping children there!!

25. Lutugino Children’s Home, Donbass: My Most Recent Trip, How you Can Help

This, just a selection, and more coming soon. Once again, huge thanks for all your help, and support!

My Donbass, Crimea Crowdfunding Campaign – Last Chance to be Involved

As you know, all my journalism is completely crowdfunded, independent.

There’s only a few days of this campaign left, for journalism from Donbass, and Crimea, and still a way to go to meet target, to cover costs of all the independent, objective journalism I do, with your support – video reports, films, articles, and more!

I ask, please can you – support, or share –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/next-period-of-reportage-donbass-crimea-more-russia/x/12236308#/

https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

Thanks again for being with me!

Graham

Pro-Ukrainian Attitudes Towards Independent, non pro-Ukraine Journalism (aka Death Wishes / Threats)

Last week, we marked the second anniversary of the murder of journalist Oles Buzina, in Kiev.  Although the culprits are widely known, and known as Ukrainian nationalists, because this is Ukraine, there’s been no attempt to bring them to justice.

Moreover, because of the west’s desire to cover up that which happens in Ukraine and doesn’t suit the ‘Ukraine is good, Russia is bad‘ narrative, there’s been little coverage of the Buzina case in western media.

Ukrainians, pro-Ukrainian can usually be found occupying the moral highground, happy to bask in a world much believing all the above rhetoric about Russia, and Ukraine’s poor, put-upon people, only wanting their own land etc etc (the line endlessly pumped out by their government, and oft-repeated in the media).

But what if it’s really not like that at all? I’m an independent journalist, covering the Ukraine situation for over 3 years. And because I haven’t taken the ‘pro-Ukrainian’ side (I’ve reported facts), I’ve become a ‘hate figure’ for many in Ukraine (and I’m officially banned from there, for life, as I understand.)

I accept that sometimes my work can push some boundaries, but, I never go through them, in general always try to be a decent person. And, yet, it took me just a few minutes to assemble these tweets, and comments, sent to me, in English, by ‘pro-Ukrainians’, as they’d call themselves, thousands even (no exaggeration) more in Russian, Ukrainian, of course. Just 10 here, to get started!

So, let’s have a look and see how pro-Ukrainians respond to a journalist whose work they don’t like: 

           

After anyone is killed, or dies, I will get a swathe of messages from pro-Ukrainians wishing me the same.

So there we have it, pro-Ukrainian attitudes to a journalist they don’t like.