41 Attacks by Russia-Backed Forces; 1 UA Soldier KIA, 2 WIA; Pro-Russian War Reporter Phillips Ends Donbass Coverage

September 10, 2017
British pro-Russian war reporter Graham Phillips in the Donbass. Via VK

Ukraine Day 1301: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. One Ukrainian soldier was killed in action and two were wounded.

Yesterday’s coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


41 Attacks by Russia-Backed Forces; 1 UA Soldier KIA, 2 WIA; Pro-Russian War Reporter Phillips Ends Donbass Coverage

Screen grab from video by Ruptly, showing Graham Phillips narrating the battle of Debaltsevo, inadvertently revealing Russian T-72 tanks behind him.

Russia-backed forces attacked 41 times, Liga.net reported, citing a press briefing from the ATO [Anti-Terrorist Operation] headquarters.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry reported that in the previous day, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and two were wounded. Most fighting took place on the Mariupol line, where Russia-backed forces fired mortar-launchers day and night.
Mayorsk came under fire from grenade-launchers, which led the checkpoint to be temporarily closed to prevent civilian injuries. At about 7:50, the shelling, which had lasted an hour and a half, finally ceased, according to the Ukrainian Border Service.
On the Donetsk line, there was firing near Avdeyevka as well as near Zaytsevo from grenade-launchers, heavy machine guns and small arms; 82-mm mortars were fired near the Butovka mine, Liga.net reported, citing the ATO.
On the Mariupol line, Vodyanoye, Gnutovo, Pavlopo and Bereyozvoye were struck with heavy machine gun fire; grenade-launchers were fired near Talakovka and Bogdanovka.
Vladislav Seleznev, spokesman for the General Staff, said there were about 6,000 Russian servicemen in the Donbass and about 40,000 Russia-backed fighters.
In other news:
Graham Phillips, the notorious pro-Russian war reporter, announced that he was giving up his coverage of fighting in the Donbass, 0642.ua reported.
Fakty.ua reported Graham’s statement on his Facebook page, where he noted he would focus on reporting inside Russia in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup Football Championship

On his VKontakte page, Phillips complained about the major reaction from Ukrainian media to his announcement, claiming it was an indication of how much his reporting “bothered” Ukrainian media with “all their lies and fake news” — using “ukrop,” a pejorative term for Ukrainians which means literally “dillweed”. 

Graham, who last worked for Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star), the Russian military TV station, and previously worked for RT.com and Ruptly, was infamous for stepping on a tripwire and believing it was Ukrainian soldiers firing at him, and covering the seige of Debaltsevo from the Moscow perspective, and inadvertently revealing the presence of Russian tanks there.  

Phillips said he would return to the Donbass after the World Cup but would no longer go to the front line, noting that he had only occasionally visited it recently.

After hundreds of propagandistic and sometimes grotesquely gory war videos uploaded to YouTube, and blurring of the lines between reporter and partisan, sometimes training with separatists, Ukrainian authorities barred him from Ukraine, but he managed to slip across the Russian-controlled border.

Phillips, who was recently banned from YouTube for two weeks, is now in the Russian youth camp of Artek in occupied Crimea, referring to himself to the children as “Dyadya Grem” (Uncle Graham) (in a tweet evidently since removed, but he has referred to himself by similar nicknames recently and in the past).

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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