Ukraine’s Kiev Falls into World’s Least Liveable Cities… and the Diplomatic Reaction…

What was Kiev like pre-Euromaidan? I lived there myself for 2 years, worked at a magazine in the city, knew the city well:

It was a good place to live, had cleaned its act up in the run up to Euro 2012, along with all the new infrastructure that had gone with that. Fancy hotels were opening, I even reviewed one on a gig, investment was rising. Things were fine.

What’s happened to Ukraine, post-Euromaidan? Economic collapse, national debt is rising, corruption is rising, corruption is institutionalisedUkraine has become kind of a dumping-ground for ex-jihadists, can’t even get Ryanair to fly into it, economy run by ‘economic hitmen‘, has become either one of, or even the poorest country in Europehealth system in crisis, an unreformed penal system, a tuberculosis epidemic

There are things like the ongoing farce with Saakashvili. He’s the governor of Odessa Poroshenko ally, then he’s not. Then he’s an opposition leader. Then he’s had his Ukrainian passport revoked. Then he’s in the USA telling everyone about how awful Ukraine is (but, Russia is ‘worse’, of course). Then he’s in Poland saying he’ll come and rescue Ukraine… it goes on, and on ….

And to add to that, Ukraine’s capital Kiev has now plunged into one of the 10 Least Liveable Cities in the World – Economist Intelligence Unit finds –

10. Kiev, Ukraine47.8/100 points. The capital of Kiev saw the biggest decline in terms of liveability — 21.4 points — of all 140 cities surveyed. It is the also the only European city in the 12 that scored below 50 points. The city is still in a recovery that remains under threat from unrest, economic instability, and the ongoing civil war taking place in the Donbass region.

Occupying the next places, Cameroon, and Zimbabwe. What does the UK’s LGBT-obsessed ambassador Judith Gough have to say to this? It’s hard to agree – I see that Kiev is getting better, not worse! 

In diplomatic world, as ever, bad = good where Ukraine is concerned….

Where the UK got it All Wrong on Crimea…

The UK followed up on getting it completely wrong about Euromaidan, with … getting it completely wrong about what happened in Crimea, in 2014.

Blanket support for Maidan, meant that the UK’s position was, from the start, against those in Crimea protesting against the coup in Kiev: Maidan – good. Against Maidan – bad. Went the UK’s thinking.

However, there was something interesting in this, the BBC, ever the faithful mouthpiece of the UK government in international affairs, actually veered from the Crimea narrative, in the early days. Fresh from blanket coverage of the sunny side of Maidan, beautiful / heroic protesters speaking about their desire for a ‘free Ukraine’, to ‘be Europeans’ etc etc –

…none of the molotov-hurling terrorists or acknowledgement that the east of the country Daniel Sandford Crimeawas actively opposed to Maidan – the BBC’s Daniel Sandford (pictured) was down from Maidan, reporting from Crimea, on February 25th, 2014, that people there were ‘demanding Russian passports‘… ‘To the people of Sevastopol, it’s not a Ukrainian history, but a Russian one‘…. before adding the obligatory ‘if Russia wants to cause trouble (in Crimea), all the ingredients are there.’

Yet very quickly, even this tokenistic attempt at objectively from the BBC had been ‘corrected’, and their reporting had reverted to script, February 27th: Ukraine crisis: Russia warned against Crimea ‘aggression’

Out went the actually talking to people in Crimea, and by the way I was in Crimea myself at this time, finding people readily disposed to talking, and a very different picture to the one the BBC were depicting –

https://thetruthspeaker.co/2015/03/23/crimea-in-march-2014-the-real-story/

Over at the BBC, it was :

‘Russian troops’ guarding Crimean government HQ

Ukraine: Putin signs Crimea annexation

The BBC’s tone, as it invariably does, mirroring that of the UK government, with David Cameron coming out a few days before the Crimea referendum of March 16th, 2014, that it would be:

illegal, illegitimate and will not be recognised by the international community

Cameron of course, later, a few days after the referendum, upped that to that the vote had taken place ‘under the barrel of a Kalashnikov‘. Ridiculous, of course, and even very silly. I was in Crimea, visiting polling stations, on the referendum day.

The BBC, ‘strangely’, nowhere to be seen on that day, an entirely calm, jubilant even, day, where Crimeans, en masse, headed for the polling stations –

Start of the day: 

End: 

Street interviews with people in Simferopol:

Do these people really look like they’d need to be made to vote under the ‘barrel of a kalashnikov’? Was there any evidence at all of that at polling stations. Of course not, it was nonsense from the UK, who even admitted later they got it all wrong:

The British government was left in the dark during the Ukraine crisis because its diplomats can’t understand Russian

MPs says the lack of language skills in the Foreign Office is ‘alarming’

In the years since, neither language, or seemingly any other skills have improved at the Foreign Office. The UK have zoned in on the supposed ‘persecution’ of Crimean Tatars are the latest cause celebre of the day. I was in Crimea in 2016 filming the largest gathering of Crimean Tatars yet, at the Hiderlez festival –

Meanwhile the UK’s ambassador to Ukraine, LGBT obsessed Judith Gough – who’s never once been to Crimea in her time in the role, was tweeting this –

What does Boris do? Well, goes to Ukraine, meets up with Crimean Tatars in Kiev – who’ve been there for the past 3 years, making a comfortable living by speaking about how everything is dreadful in the Crimea they’ve not been to for over 3 years, and who their own people regard as traitors: (this, my interview with an actual Crimean Tatar leader, in Crimea):

Boris meets them, and mouths off a few buzzwords about ‘human rights’ etc, ‘Russian annexation of Crimea’ etc on his travels. There are clear signs of increasingly fewer people believing Boris, or the British position on Ukraine, and Crimea – however this doesn’t deter Britain from just blindly barrelling on with its pre-set polemic from a parallel reality.

What’s the problem then? Is it language skills? Is it mental skills? Or does the UK’s foreign policy bear a lot less relation to reality, than it does to UK business interests? 

Whatever the reason, Britain’s policy on Crimea is mistaken, misguided, deceitful, and mired in the kind of blinkered small-mindedness which currently condemns the UK to the tier of second-league nations.

I’m not the only British person who finds this all deeply embarrassing.

 

The UK and Ukraine: A Guide in 5 Videos

The UK’s unconditional support of Euromaidan:

The UK’s involvement in the Ukraine war: 

The UK won’t listen to a word about what Ukraine’s actually doing in Donbass:

The UK apply an outrageous double-standard about those Brits who took arms in the Ukraine war: 

The UK are telling you absolute lies about Donbass:

I’m now out of the UK until after the 2018 World Cup, but I was ready, and am ready…

I’m on my way to Russia now, but, I’d prepared for the UK not to allow me to leave, given the political climate there now – and actually I was more than in the mood to turn my full attention, and reportage to the absolute debacle, festering pit of dishonesty, and deceit, that is UK politics, and the manifest problems in UK society right now. However, that will have to wait, for now.

As it was, while others passed through customs at Dover in a minute, I was detained for half an hour. Asked where I was going, to which I answered, entirely truthfully, Luxembourg, then Russia. What I’d be doing there – filming reportage– for how long – I’d decide that later, where to after that – I’d decide that later.

However, that was that, I departed the UK, and I’m now well on my way to Russia. I’ll most likely be back in the UK after the World Cup 2018, with lots, lots of work to come before that, from this part of the world.

My flat in Odessa: Now for Sale

In 2012, I fell in love with the city of Odessa. In summer of 2013, I used what I’d saved in my working life, and borrowed some, to buy a flat there, a few kilometres out of the centre, in the Kotovsky area, for $55,000, in September.

I imagined a life there. But it didn’t work out that way. In November of 2013, Euromaidan began, in March of 2014, crisis, conflict, April 2014 – war, and I left for Donbass, not to return (as of this point in time).

I’ve not returned to Odessa since, being banned from Ukraine for 3 years. However, my ban from Ukraine has now expired. 

Thus, I am now entitled to sell the apartment in Odessa, with full rights, and as I am not banned from Ukraine, I shall expect FCO support in this, if necessary.

This is not a farewell to Odessa, but I’m not a rich man, and can’t just have an apartment somewhere, unsure when I’ll be able to visit. Moreso with the amount of radicals, terrorists in Ukraine, and Ukrainian media having splashed my apartment all over the news:

If I have to pay tax to fund Ukraine’s war against civilians in Donbass ‘ATO’, I’ll give that same amount to the armies in the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics to defend themselves from ‘ATO’.

I will do everything fairly, and reasonably, as always. And we go forward.

New Russian Visa, Leaving the UK, Back to Work, and UK, FYI….

Today, after filling out all the relevant documentation, submitting my application, payment, as each year in recent years, I received my visa for Russia, valid for the next year: 


My concrete plans are to go to Luxembourg, to finish my documentary there, on Belval. And then Russia, to start filming reportage about the World Cup 2018. Those are my only concrete plans at this time.

Just for the record, and I’m sure they regret saying this now, given the ramping up in their support of Ukraine, but in September 2016, the UK Ambassador to Ukraine, Judith Gough, said this: 

“Mr. Phillips did not commit an offense in Great Britain that could be a reason for the British government to make him forbidden to leave the country.”

Nor have I committed any offences since then. 

And on we go to work! It’s a huge year ahead, there’s so much to do, and I’m in the mood to do it!