Kosovo – Western-Approved Separatism, DPR and LPR – Non-Approved…

It was a week in which the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics both pulled off huge victory days, huge concerts on their republic days, mass crowds, and all without a hitch. Here, the concert in Donetsk for DPR Republic Day –

So, you might have thought that these republics managing that despite both still being on a war footing, with the Donetsk area in particular still under regular Ukrainian shelling, may have managed a word of two of appreciation of their achievements?

Well, of course, not a bit of it. All the western press did was either ignore the celebrations – the largest yet in the republics, formed after Ukraine’s Euromaidan placed an unelected, far-right government in power in 2014 – or go negative, focusing on the military vehicles on display and how that supposedly represented a breach of the Minsk agreement.

It may almost give one the idea that the west, and western media don’t like ‘separatism’. Yet, that’s clearly not the case. In 1999, western governments, here the UK’s Tony Blair, used a civil war in the Kosovo region of Serbia, as an excuse to launch a NATO attack on all Serbia, and create Kosovo as an independent state, for Kosovo Albanians.

The history of Kosovo is long, complicated, bloody, and interpretations differ vastly, However, as a part of Serbia, it has both a deep-rooted and symbolic significance to the country, with Serbian Orthodox monasteries there dating back to the 12th century. As for the civil war, which NATO used as cause to intervene there in 1999, to brutal effect, there were wrongs being committed there by both sides.

Yet, NATO stepped in against the military of a sovereign state, Yugoslavia, at that time, and on the side of the separatist Kosovo Liberation Army, an organisation the USA themselves declared a terrorist organisation, after a series of terrorist attacks, in 1998, noting further “We would be remiss to dismiss allegations that between 30 and 50 percent of the KLA’s money comes from drugs.”

What happened after, is widely known, NATO launched an attack against Serbia which, while it may have started by targeting military objects, soon started targeting civilian areas, to deadly result – over 2000 civilians killed, including 88 children. And Kosovo was created as a state separate from Serbia.

Now, although Kosovo is only a partially-recognised state, 111 of 193 UN members, it’s one the western media actively, enthusiastically endorses. Just have a look at some of the headlines –

Kosovo: what to see in Europe’s newest country – Telegraph

How Kosovo is producing the best female pop stars

Rita Ora’s new music to pay tribute to her native Kosovo – Mirror Online

The Guardian writes promo-articles about Kosovo.

And Rita Ora, UK pop star who was born there, but left when she was one so clearly doesn’t remember it for herself, releases an epic, pumped-up, dream-espousing song in Kosovo’s honour, given mass PR across the western media

So, it’s clear, the west can, and does, support separatism, but only its own separatism. Sadly for the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics, still under attack by Ukraine’s west-backed forces, their separatism wasn’t west-endorsed, so no sexy videos, fairytale headlines, just constant shelling by Ukrainian forces, and attacks by western media.

A Graham Newsletter (#18) A UK Return, 5 Key Donbass Moments, a new campaign!


I’m Graham Phillips, completely crowdfunded UK journalist. To make a contribution to my work, click here! 

I’m now back in the UK. This latest period of work in Donbass has been almost exactly 4 months, starting as it did back in mid-September of 2016, and entirely crowdfunded as per here –

There have been over 200 videos in this time, over 6 million views – on my channel alone, mass exposure in media across the world.

That’s all because of your support! This was 100% objective, independent journalism – funded by you the people, this campaign here on indiegogo, plus other contributions, as per here, covered costs.

I’m now working through the pledges to honour those I made to you, and even exceed them, so those involved, look out for that! For now, here were 5 key moments from a hugely productive time –

  1. Showing Ukrainian forces violating Minsk by use of heavy artillery, by Debalstevo, December 2016 –
  2. Exposing the fake news story of the BBC and ‘gulags’ in the LPR –
  3. Showing how the OSCE really ‘work’ in Donbass-

  4. Exclusive 360 degree reportage (the first of its kind from Donbass), one here from Pervomaisk –
  5. Special reportage about weapons made in the LPR, tested there

    Of course, it’s an information war, as well as war – and I’ve written about that here!

    What comes next? Here you can read about my next full-length film, The Story of Irina Gurtyak.  To speak of films, after that, I’ll complete the edit for film ‘A Brit in Crimea (on his holidays), as well as shooting new material for that.

    And then there’s my upcoming film about the late, amazing Doctor Liza, which will have full English subs. There’s also going to be a lot on MH17, on which I’ve been writing and publishing news videos on, of late! 

    There’s also lots of exciting reportage planned, look out for an announcement on that soon, with a new crowdfunding campaign to come!

    As ever, huge thanks for your support! Graham

2016 – A Quick Round-up, start of 2017 and on!

Graham Phillips

graham-phillipsI’m a completely crowdfunded correspondent, to make an ongoing donation to my work, the link is here. 

2016 was a year which saw some tragedies, some loved ones leave the world, so it’s difficult to describe the year, on a personal level, as anything other than tough.

However, on a working level, it was very productive. Hundreds of videos of reportage, more, several films, over 15 million views on my channel, many millions more on other channels, extensive exposure in worldwide media. These are some of the highlights. The year started in Donbass, with my preparing to leave Donbass, for a period in Russia, and on.

That period saw me go up to St Petersburg, where I had a holiday, then filmed reportage, and also worked on my first proper film, with Oleg Somov – Aramis.

St Petersburg was also where I recorded the video, setting my future out as a completely crowdfunded journalist

If I’m honest, I was worried, in January, if it would be possible to continue solely as a crowdfunded correspondent. After I parted company with Zvezda in early 2015, for the rest of 2015 I’d worked on such, modest earnings from my YouTube channel, and savings. Thanks to your support, however, I’ve been able, and am able to work on as a completely crowdfunded correspondent. 

Following St Petersburg, it was more reportage, and onto what was intended to be a period of several weeks filming reportage from the Baltics. In the event, it was only 3 days, as my asking people attending a march honouring a battalion which fought for the Nazis, why they were doing that, saw me arrested, deported, banned for three years.

This was the reportage I’d managed to film in Latvia, and Estonia, prior to that

The unexpected, unwelcome, turn of events saw me deported into Russia, with Latvian authorities actually lying to me, telling me I was also banned from Estonia and Lithuania, so Russia was the only option. It was onto Moscow, where I stayed for a few weeks, working out my next move, filming this reportage that has, across channels, accumulated well more than half a million views –

My interview with Doctor Liza, who tragically lost her life on Tu-154. May she rest in peace.

This reportage from Moscow, about Odessa, where I’d lived before the Ukraine conflict –

From finishing this, it was right down to Crimea, via the Savchenko trial. I stayed in Crimea for over a month, filming reportage, one of the highlights of this being my first interview with Natalia Poklonskaya, culminating in a crowdfunded film, Crimea: Victory Day 2016, again with Oleg Somov, combining footage from people all over Crimea into a unique film of how the celebration was marked across the peninsula.

I’d also filmed reportage in Crimea, this, from Evpatoria, asking people whether they wanted to be Russia, or Ukraine –

After Crimea, it was briefly back to Donbass, including a trip to the frontlines

And from here, back to the UK, where I began work on my crowdfunded project, of reportage about the upcoming referendum. As part of that project, I set off around Europe, highlights of that trip being reportage from the ‘jungle’ in Calais –

Interviewing Ukrainian football fans in Lille during Euro 2016

And returning to Latvia, despite the deportation, ban, to film more reportage from there –

There was also reportage from Denmark

From there, it was back to the UK, where I filmed extensive pre-Brexit reportage, there were around 100 videos in total, from Dundee, Birmingham, and London.

All of this reportage was generally well received, with hits often breaking out into the tens of thousands. However, it was post-Brexit that things really went big, with these videos. This one, of a conflict at the March for Europe, getting near 140,000 views, and featured across media, including the Huffington Post

While this one, of young anti-Brexit protester Hollie, has gained near 200,000 views, again featured across media, including the Express here

After completion of the Brexit reportage project, I travelled around Europe, filming about MH17, including a visit to propaganda agency Correctiv in Berlin, for work on a film due later this year. I filmed reportage in the Netherlands, about Theo van Gogh

I also filmed reportage in Germany, which turned out to be among my most popular of the year, including this reportage, my most popular of the year, street interviews in Munich, with over half a million views, rising by thousands each week

From there, it was back to the UK, and preparation for my crowdfunded film, a ‘A Brit (on his holidays) in Crimea’. That went very well, the film is due in June (I’ll be back in the UK filming more for it soon, then Crimea again) . I stayed on in Crimea to film some more reportage, this, on Crimean Tatars –

And this, about the Irishman who arrived when Crimea was Ukraine, but stayed (not technically legally) after it became Russia –

Here, asking Evpatoria residents how their city could be improved –

The most popular in terms of hits, with over 250,000, was my trip to the border between Crimea, and Ukraine –

There was also this film, about a day in Sevastopol! From there, it was a return to Donbass, and the months that followed have brought scores of videos of special reportage, including this look back to how war was in Lugansk in 2014, with the opening of a new memorial –

This trip to show you what it’s really like in a Donbass buffer zone, which is neither one country nor the other…

This special reportage, comprehensively debunking a BBC report, that there were ‘gulags’ in the Lugansk People’s Republic –

When Ukrainian shelling intensified in November, I was there to film is –

This reportage, of weapons made in the Lugansk People’s Republic, tested there

And this special reportage from School 60 in Lugansk, on which I’m still working on English subtitles for, with the help of one of my volunteers, Anastasia –

There was reportage on the OSCE – 

There were also, of course, scandals in that time, notably this one, from September, when I interviewed a Ukrainian terrorist –

Things really kicked off after this, with it getting considerable attention in the media, and Ukraine officially asking the UK to punish me. I also received thousands of comments online, messages of abuse, and death threats from ‘pro-Ukrainians’. What to say about this? I’m not interested in scandal, other people create it to suit their own ends. To me, it was standard reportage, I was glad when the fuss died down, and I could get on with work.

In November, I was pleased to start to bring you reportage in a different way, 360 degrees, giving you total control over the camera – this, a tour of a Donetsk building wrecked by Ukrainian shelling –

Here, Pervomaisk – 

This, exclusive, unique, totally unedited special reportage from Pervomaisk, in 360 –

As for war reportage, there were frequent trips to the frontline, with interviews, including this –

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-IkbCSXbTsyou]

Capturing Ukrainian forces heavy shelling by militia positions, in clear violation of Minsk –

Also, when it was possible (I’m banned from Ukraine, ‘freedom of press’ there etc), I interviewed Ukrainain soldiers, as here –

As for films, Oleg Somov (with whom I’ve worked on several projects together now) really worked to make this film about Kramatorsk, Victory Day, a masterpiece –

And, in full English, he did the same with the Jeff Monson Masterclass in Lugansk!

Before New Year in Donetsk, this was the reportage of the Christmas Tree opening –

My message to you on New Year – 

This was how the New Year was seen in, in Donetsk

In 2017, I’ve already been happy to bring you an exclusive documentary, about the Dutchman who’s been in Donbass all war –

And this most recent video, to mark 1000 days of war in Donbass

What more to expect from 2017? I’m leaving Donbass for a couple of months soon, with reportage to come from Russia, the UK, a special trip to Serbia, and more! There will be new videos on MH17 starting soon.

I’m extremely grateful, in 2016, for all the help in subtitles by the amazing Sergey Yermolayev, my amazing volunteer, from Latvia, living in Canada. More on him soon! In 2017, I’m looking to raise the game further still, with faster, and more subtitles!

I’m also always looking to make innovations to make my work better, more interesting for you. The most important thing – it’s always 100% objective, true reportage. And that’s all thanks to you, and your support!

We go on into 2017 together!

All the best! Graham

A Graham Newsletter (#17) Dr Liza and Tragedy on Christmas, news from Donbass

I had wanted to write this wishing you a Happy Christmas, but the tragic crash of flight Tu-154 meant there was nothing happy about the day. While mourning for drliz4all the 92 victims on board, I was devastated to learn that in their number was Doctor Liza, an incredible lady who had visited Donbass 16 times during war, taking hundreds of, often severely, wounded children to Russia and the medical treatment which, in many cases, saved their lives.

We’d been in touch since early 2015, and in 2016 of this year, I’d had the pleasure of meeting her, spending a day together, the result of which was an interview, an extract of which, I’ll show you below, the text here: There was a girl, who was given a terrible outlook, and Vika (kindly shortening of Victoria), she became well, and was coming up to the guard and would dance – a little swan or some other part, she was making such a show – a child that could not even SIT before, she lay on the arms. So, you see… Everything is possible, Grisha

I’d agreed with Doctor Liza a few days ago to make a documentary film about her in Moscow, in January, was really looking forward to seeing her. It was, and is, shattering news, and hard to think how to go forward without her. A huge loss, one felt particularly acutely in Donbass, where she did so much, helped so many, was a symbol of hope for all.

Thoughts with all those, families, relatives of victims of flight Tu-154, Doctor Liza I knew, and adored, it’s a very tough loss.

***

Just over a week ago, I visited Pervomaisk, to give you a unique 360-degree tour of an apartment building wrecked by Ukrainian shellling –

My assistant for this reportage, Vera, with English subtitltes –

And here’s how we made that video –

The last week saw me go to the frontlines, with Patrick Lancaster, to bring you some unique reportage. With the eyes of the world elsewhere, here’s how Ukrainian forces were shelling, by Debalstevo –

Here was an interview with a Donbass militia on the frontlines, before battle kicked off –

Here was battle waging on the frontlines –

And here’s modern warfare, a Ukrainian drone flying overhead, as shelling goes on –

The town of Debalstevo itself then came under shelling –

The last few days have seen an attempted ceasefire over the festive period fail to hold, however also a de-escalation from the days before Christmas.

I now leave to Russia for a few days, to film about Doctor Liza, and will return to Donbass in the new year. Here was the recent opening of the Christmas Tree, in Donetsk –

And in 360 degrees –

It’s been devastating news, about flight Tu-154. I wish you all the best for the season, to stay safe, there’ll be another newsletter before the new year.

A Graham Newsletter (#16) 360 Degrees, an Aramis SOS, and more

Graham Phillips

It’s been a little while since the last newsletter, and this will be the last one before the final of 2016. To kick things off with an SOS, there’s only 2 days to go for the appeal to raise funds for a headstone fit for the hero of my Donbass film of early 2016, Aramis – if you can be involved in this, it would make a huge difference –

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/a-grave-fit-for-a-hero/x/12236308#/

The last period has seen me reporting everything from Donbass – shelling, events, on the street reportage – and also a quick break to Russia to purchase a new camera, a 360-degree camera, allowing you to control the video yourself (panel in the top left, make sure it’s on high resolution setting, and on a computer rather than phone) – here’s the first result of my 360 degree camera, from Pervomaisk –

I’m very excited about this format, as it allows me to bring you reportage from Donbass in a new, visceral way, and am looking forward to bringing you more 360 going forward!

All this is, of course, thanks to those who support my work – my 3 month crowdfunding campaign for independent journalism from Donbass, here. I’m currently working through the pledges I made to all of those of you who supported me, to honour my commitment to you.

For those of you who wish to make ongoing pledge to my work, I’ve now set up a link for that, here – https://www.paypal.me/grahamwphillips

I’m also, of course, hugely grateful to my volunteer subtitle-makers, Sergey Yermolayev, and Anastasic Urtica. Their amazing work means I can show you, in English, all sides of the situation in Donbass. From student talent shows –

To frontline interviews – 

Special reportage – 

Coverage of press conferences – 

Exclusive interviews – 

And doing what the western media refuse to do here, simply speaking to people in Donbass –

There is also, of course, photo reportage, updates, and much more which I bring you via my Twitter account, here. And I’d like to add that you can find all of my English-language reportage in the Facebook group ‘Truth in Journalism‘ – and big up to Daniel Franz, who’s doing great work as the admin of this group!

There’s also this site, of course, the Truth Speaker, where I bring you exclusive content such as this article about the OSCE –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/11/28/the-osce-in-donetsk-what-are-they-there-for/

This debunking of more western lies about Donbass

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/12/04/updates-from-the-dlpr-9-reconstruction-versus-hearsay-in-the-dpr/

And publishing this open letter to Donald Trump, by more than 20 industry experts –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/12/03/an-open-letter-to-donald-trump-on-mh17/

As we now move into the festive season, I’ll be looking forward to bringing you as much reportage as possible, across formats and mediums, and as always hoping for positive, rather than negative.

Before wrapping things up for this one, a mention for Patrick Lancaster, and the great work he’s doing here, both in journalism, and the humanitarian sphere, details of his humantarian work here –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2016/12/11/help-for-donbass-an-urgent-appeal-from-patrick-lancaster/

Thanks so much for being with me, my very best wishes with you, as ever! Will be in touch with you all before the new year. Graham

New English Reportage from Donbass (#2) 360 Pervomaisk, Lugansk School, Alexander Hug

The latest in the series looking at my recent, English-language  video reportage from Donbass. Graham Phillips

A 360 degree look at a wrecked apartment building in the town of Pervomaisk (you can spin the camera yourself) –

In conversation with pupils at a Lugansk school –

An interview with Alexander Hug, of the OSCE –

New English Reportage from Donbass (#1) Students, Weapons, Defectors

The first in a series bringing together my recent English-language Donbass reportage. Graham Phillips

Huge thanks for English subtitles to Sergey Yermolayev, and Anastasia Urtica. 

All my reportage is funded by crowdfunding. Huge thanks to everyone involved! To make a donation to my work, click here. 

The end of November saw me at a scene, asking why the OSCE weren’t working –

Interviewing an LPR fighter on the frontlines –

A student talent show in Lugansk –

Into December, and it’s special reportage from an LPR factory, where they make their own weapons, then test them –

And, in Lugansk, a recent press conference with a former Ukrainian fighter, crossed over to the Lugansk People’s Republic side –