Western Media Reaction to Victory Days in Donbass

Recent Victory Days in Donbass saw mass turnouts, I filmed in Lugansk where there were around 100,000 people celebrating, amazing entertainment, a concert, and more. 

What was the western media’s reaction to this, mass display of patriotism? Well, beginning with the Atlantic Council funded site Medium, the Atlantic Council itself, funded by western governments – and even Ukraine itself – to promote western, in this case pro-Ukrainian propaganda, it was universally negative.

All they could find to do was pore over the military equipment on display, attemping to connect it all to Russia, in various ways. 

That pumped on into other western media, with Yahoo News, reporting from AFP, declaring Ukraine rebels roll out banned tanks on WWII Victory Day in an article which put great weight on that supposed feature, and only grudgingly, casting the shadow of the Kremlin, mentioned the support shown by locals for the day.

It’s indeed ironic that the western media has absolutely ignored the constant violations of the Minsk agreement by Ukrainain forces ongoing shelling of Donbass, but when a few military vehicles peacefully roll through streets in a traditional parade, it’s all uproar and ‘bad separatists’, ‘Kremlin’ all over…

Victory Day in Lugansk – Videos, and Details!

I recently filmed Victory Day in Lugansk, capital of the Lugansk People’s Republic, Donbass. Here are the videos, on a day in which around 100,000 people turned out to mark the historic celebration of victory over fascism in WWII.

The beginning –

The military parade – 

The military vehicle parade – 

Just some of the entertainment, as local kids put on a show – 

A mass march of people through the city, representing organisations, companies, associations –

The march of the ‘Immortal Regiment’, where people bear placards, usually of their forefathers who fought in the wars – 

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Firework display after the evening concert – 

And this, just a sampling of the videos, of a truly remarkable day in Lugansk!

Upcoming: English Subtitles on My Films, an Event in London

Graham Phillips

I’m soon finishing up my Brexit reportage project – more on that soon! Next up, delighted to say that I’m already working with Sergey Yermolayev – the loyal subtitle-creator for many of my videos – to put English subtitles on the 2 films I’ve made (with Oleg Somov) – Aramis, and Crimea: Victory Day 2016.

Of course, this is a very big job, so I need to pay Sergey something. However, due to the exceptional generosity of one man from South Africa – Tiago de Carvalho – no crowdfunding is required, Tiago’s donations cover costs!

Here are the films as they are, in Russian. When English subtitles are completed, I’ll be arranging a special event in London to show them, and have a q and a, and much more, so look out for details of that! Email me on – gwplondon@gmail.com – if you’d like to be on my mailing list!

Aramis: 

Crimea: Victory Day 2016 

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!

18+ Mariupol May 9th – What Really Happened (Part 1 – Background)

Mariupol blood

By Graham Phillips

In January of this year, the widely discredited Bellingcat ‘citizen investigative journalist’ agency published a report into events in Mariupol, on May 9th 2014. Founder of Bellingcat, the disgraced Eliot Higgins, long implicated in wilful information suppression, and accepting payment from undisclosed sources to put out falsified reports.

The Bellingcat is as distant from the truth as its authors were from events. I spent extensive time in Mariupol, before, after, on May 9th. This is the first in a series of articles looking at what really happened the day Ukrainian military entered the city, causing multiple civilian deaths.  I spoke with hundreds in Mariupol, townspeople and officials, obtained exclusive video and photos to bring you closer to the truth.

Mariupol1I’d been to Mariupol in March 2014, and seen a large city much different from as I’d imagined from films I’d seen, full of rusting old boats, decaying tower blocks. It was far removed, this city of over 450,000 just 60km from the Russian border was modern, bustling centre, beaches even a bit Odessa-like. I was impressed at this city which had sat out Euromaidan, during that time seen no attempts on its Lenin statue which still stood when I was there, with the will of the townspeople that it should, in a conurbation which was no question, a Russian-leaning city – March 11th 2014 – (English subs) –

Just a week later, the first incidents in Mariupol flared up, with the city’s council building taken by pro-Russia protesters on March 18th. They consolidated their hold of building, and the city seemed to go calm for a few weeks, but on April 16th flared up suddenly as a pro-Russia attempt to storm a Ukrainian military base  by the city saw Ukrainian troops open fire, with a report of 3 killed, 13 injured on the side of the pro-Russia.

The aftermath of that night was the city, 2nd largest in the Donetsk region, 10th largest in Ukraine, escalating into a hotbed of action as the Ukrainian and pro-Russia/pro-Donetsk traded fire in exchanges and the occupied city council building reportedly changed hands several times, with denial and counter-denial each time. May 3rd, early morning 4th, saw Ukrainian military enter the city and attempt to retake the central city council building, on Lenin Street. They were repelled, as violence flared –

In the violence, the nearby Privat Bank, owned by sponsor of Ukrainian neo-Nazi, anti-Russian group Pravy Sektor,  Igor Kolomoisky, was torched.

The blame for this was placed on pro-Russia activists, yet those I spoke to in Mariupol said they had been framed, pointed to suspicious activity in the bank in previous days – computers,  hardware removed, ATMs emptied of money.

Here was the gutted bank as I found it on May 10th 2014 –

This man I spoke to on May 10th in Mariupol, by the bank, stated it was a ‘provocation’ (English subtitles) –

The Ukrainian army returned in force on the night of the 6th, and after a night of fierce fighting, this time managed to retake the city council building, on the morning of May 7th. Reports are of at least 3 killed in this fighting, and of Pravy Sektor members in military and police uniform involved. As Mariupol locals turned out to protest the Ukrainian army presence in the city on May 8th, there was footage of a city council surrounded by Ukrainian troops, firing automatic weapons into the air –

This was followed that evening by footage of burning tyres outside the city council building –

Night settled on an uneasy city, with fires burning and shots heard into the night, as pro-Russia/Donbass activists, now out of their base, regrouped, the city itself prepared to mark Victory Day, and Radical Party candidate, ultra-nationalist politician Oleg Lyashko was reported as arriving into a troubled Mariupol.

To be continued…