His lack of experience and poise did not deter Russian mainstream media, including RT (formerly Russia Today), and Zvezda, from utilizing Phillips as their stringer and reporter. In fact, his bumbling ways provided a great cover for Russia's FSB going in and out of Ukraine, under the pretense of delivering "humanitarian aid."
For his participation, the blundering pseudo-journalist received an FSB medal in Russia, and ongoing protection by armed guards while reporting for Russia's Ministry of Defense (MoD) in the Russian-occupied Donbas under the guise of an "independent western journalist." Furthermore, in order to do this work he was undoubtedly assisted, particularly during his multiple illegal entries from Russia to Ukraine.
To disguise the true nature of his activities, Phillips uses common Russian propaganda techniques, to which he was most likely introduced by his FSB contacts. He mixes doses of truth with blatant fiction, effectively polluting the information space. He overzealously takes propaganda tactics to the extremes, whilst also attempting to maintain the appearance of a goofy journalist searching for truth. Not being taken seriously is a useful tool for those who seek to weaken their enemy's defenses.
Russia's FSB and GRU (military intelligence) are mostly likely assigning Phillips mini-ops to attack western organizations, journalists, reporters and researchers who debunk the Kremlin's propaganda narrative. He uses four main tactical techniques to counter western criticisms: dismiss the critic, distort the facts, distract from the main issue and dismay the audience.
Individuals who criticize and expose his biased reporting and other pro-Kremlin propaganda, become targets of personal abuse, often receiving accompanying personal threats from trolls and sympathizers on social media. Organizations which question Russia's methods are branded as biased, or incompetent. All of the above are highly likely to have social media accounts and/or websites targeted for attack by a network of supporting pro-Kremlin trolls, sympathizers, hackers, and even by the FSB.
This abuse of Kremlin critics is subsequently used by Phillips to concoct further propaganda, and the cycle repeats. These predictable Russian tactics he employs serve to create a haze of disinformation, obscuring truth and allowing Phillips to conceal his own pro-Kremlin activities behind the veil of amateur reporting.
This pretense and appearance of an "impartial, independent, western journalist" arguably provides Phillips with the perfect cover for his nefarious activities. Indeed, he has consistently demonstrated via his social media posts, desperation to maintain this convenient perception at all costs. These ongoing cover-up efforts have increased since the Russian MoD's public announcement in March 2015, that Russian journalists are weaponized and are effectively considered to be Russia's military assets or "information soldiers."
Unmasked as nothing more than a biased, paid, coached and controlled participant, activist and propagandist, tasked with deceiving western audiences, Phillips would arguably become less useful for Moscow as a semi-believable western reporter on the ground in Ukraine.
The following report provides a comprehensive insight into Phillips' alleged ties to the FSB and other organizations, covertly participating in Putin's "special war" that is currently being waged against Ukraine.
Report is compiled from open-source, non-classified information.
Infamous British blogger Graham Phillips, who has concocted numerous pro-Kremlin reports for Russian propaganda media outlets - particularly for RT and Russia's military outlet Zvezda - in eastern Ukraine, has been awarded a medal in the city of Chekhov near Moscow by Russia's Border Guard, a branch of the FSB (Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation, main successor to the KGB).
The award was presented by a former KGB Border Guard soldier and Afghan veteran Pavel Hlyupin, who has various business interests in pro-Kremlin media, and is a publicly elected official of Chekhov. He has also been accused of making illegal border crossings from Russia into East Ukraine and assisting Russian-backed forces fighting the Ukrainian government.
Graham Phillips next to Pavel Semchuk (L) & Pavel Hlyupin (R) on day of award in Chekhov, Moscow Region
Phillips being rewarded for producing Pro-Kremlin propaganda by a branch of Russia's FSB, much of which has lately been for a media arm of Russia's military, Zvezda - is clearly significant, especially since Russia's MoD has publicly announced recently that Russian media are regarded as military assets, and its reporters are weaponized.
Circumstances leading up to Phillips' public award and his affiliations raise serious questions about his increasingly disturbing activities in the Donbas region of Ukraine, strongly suggesting that he has direct ties to Russian intelligence.
Phillips demonstrated close relationships to a number of people, including Russian citizens with former and current connections to Russia's military and security services, who have been openly managing and operating logistical support operations (so-called "private humanitarian aid") from Russia to her proxy forces in Ukraine.
This "aid" is suspected to be a cover for Russia's FSB and GRU (Military Intelligence) directly aiding its proxy forces in Ukraine. These operations are understood to be under the orders of a MoD unit of Russia's Ground Forces in Moscow's Military District.
Publicly, Phillips' associates operate as part of Russia's pro-Putin media and as search party units, which repatriate Soviet dead of WWII and claim to preserve and promote Slavic culture, heritage and patriotism in Russia and in the Donbas, Ukraine.
Phillips has been actively promoting and apparently participating in these "private humanitarian aid" operations, organized and carried out by his associates from Russia, that he publicly promoted for allegedly benefiting school children and the injured in eastern Ukraine.
"For months it has been obvious to those who wish to see that Russian intelligence stands behind the campaign of espionage, terrorism, propaganda, and covert action (including raising and arming rebel militias), which I have termed Special War," John Schindler, June 2014.
Graham Phillips Activities in Ukraine
For a short time during the early stages of the Russian-backed war in Ukraine, Phillips' short video reports were a hit, gaining the attention of mainstream media. But after he started to exhibit an unacceptable pattern of behavior, only Russia's propaganda outlets, mainly RT, would take his material.
(RT are a Kremlin-backed Russian propaganda outlet who have been found guilty of bias coverage of the Ukraine crisis by OFCOM, the UK's broadcasting regulator.)
Then the "tripwire" incident occurred, which made Phillips infamous for falsely claiming that the Ukrainian army had shot at him. Even RT contradicted his claim, retracting and correcting their story. Phillips' reports progressively devolved into blatant Kremlin propaganda. Soon he was banned from entering Ukraine (for 3 years) in July 2014, claiming to have been penalized "for working for RT."
Once RT had dropped Phillips, he was relegated to providing his video-based propaganda exclusively to Russian language news media outlets, including LifeNews, and the Russian military outlet, Zvezda.
In August last year Phillips willfully disregarded the 3-year ban and RT's advice, boasting of his unlawful return to eastern Ukraine (traveling via Russia), by illegally crossing Ukraine's Eastern border.
Phillips started working for Zvezda (Star) in Ukraine on Sep. 23, 2014, filing numerous video reports (e.g.: Dec. 14, Feb. 6 and 10) Zvezda is a Russian TV network owned by Russia's Ministry of Defense which is registered as part of Russia's armed forces. Phillips wrote that he made about two-dozen video reports for Zvezda.
On his return from eastern Ukraine to the UK in early March, Phillips claimed (on social media March 21) that he no longer works for them. However, it seems Zvezda is still employing him - on July 12 Zvezda published a report on MH17 using his video and "evidence" from so-called witnesses he had found, who said they had seen the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 shot down by Ukrainian jets over Ukraine on July 17, 2014.
Graham Phillips (R) and a Zvezda TV reporter, Eastern Ukraine
In late March, Russia's Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu, publicly stated that Russia's media is "yet another part of (Russia's) military" and can be used as a weapon. This effectively means that Pro-Kremlin "journalists" working for Russia's media are designated as military assets. Phillips is known to have worked for Kremlin-backed Russian outlets RT, LifeNews, Ruptly and Zvezda in Ukraine for over a year.
Phillips' notoriety came into full public view late last year, when he interviewed Ukrainian POW's and a badly wounded soldier. In the interviews, he repeatedly demands the prisoners explain why they have come to "murder civilians" and asks if they are "ready to go home now and accept that it is Novorossiya here and not Ukraine." In a second interview he aggressively interviews a severely burnt Ukrainian POW for about 15-minutes.
After Phillips posted a September 2014 video of him interviewing Ukraine POW's, BBC journalist Daniel Sandford reminded him that what he was doing was illegal as well as unethical.
Phillips does not hide his pro-Russian sympathies for Moscow's proxy organizations in eastern Ukraine, the "DPR" and "LPR." He makes no attempt to be impartial in a war zone, posting photo's of himself donning the uniform of the Russian Federation armed forces, complete with insignia/badges of Novorossiya (New Russia, an outdated Tsarist term, resurrected by Putin and eastern Ukraine's Kremlin-backed forces to describe Eastern and Southern Ukraine) and cheering after Russia's armed forces and Moscow's proxy organization, the "DPR," captured the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve. (FT)
Graham Phillips with Dimitry Kulko after Debaltseve fell to Russian-backed forces on Feb 18, 2015
Shortly after the capture of Debaltseve, Phillips interviewed a number of captured Ukrainian soldier prisoners who were forced to march carrying their dead and injured comrades, Phillips hounded the POW's, repeatedly asking whether "they feel ashamed."
Phillips, who poses as a self-proclaimed "Gonzo" journalist, seems to be unconcerned with upholding press standards and exhibits complete disregard for the Geneva Convention.
British Border Police were concerned enough to detain and question Phillips upon his return to the UK in March for four hours under Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act about his activities in the Donbas. Phillips was released after questioning. The British Foreign Office is allegedly pressuring Phillips to stop his reporting from the Donbas. (FT) This is undoubtedly due to his open stance as a propagandist in Russia's billion dollar information led "special war" against Ukraine.
Russian media "journalists" group photo in Ukraine - SM post
After arriving back from Ukraine in early March, Phillips spent the remainder of the month and April in the UK doing so-called "fundraising for the Donbas," which included selling his war photographs and his Russian military jacket complete with Novorossiya insignia. He also raised the money to buy a $1,500 drone via a Kickstarter campaign, that he said he would be using when he returned to Ukraine.
Phillips, who switched from the Conservatives to UKIP, openly became friends with Piers Mellor - a well-known neo-Nazi and fascist affiliated with far-right political party, Golden Dawn, also widely described as Neo-Nazi and fascist - who was seen protesting with Phillips.
Golden Dawn attended a Saint Petersburg forum meeting on March 22 which was organized by the Rodina party, headed by Russia's Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin. KHPG's report dated March 20, titled "European Fascists and Neo-Nazis to meet to defend Russian interests," explains that in the run-up to the (then upcoming) 70th Victory day anniversary "Russia has persistently enlisted the aid of fascist and neo-Nazi groups and parties to support its aggression against Ukraine while claiming that it is fighting a "fascist regime" in Ukraine."
Furthermore, many of the former and current leaders in Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine have ties to or are affiliated to far-right or neo-Nazi Russian organizations - many of whom Phillips has had access to, and interviewed.
Therefore, it is unsurprising that Phillips aligns himself with far-right extreme groups and individuals, such as Mellor, which is also consistent with his pro-Kremlin affiliations and bias.
In May, Phillips returned to Russian-occupied eastern Ukraine via Russia (after attending the Victory day parade in Moscow on May 9) - again willfully disregarding his 3-year ban and driving his 2003, British registered, racing green colored Rover 75 car. This time he brought with him so-called "aid for the Donbas" and his new $1,500 drone, that he funded and purchased in the UK. From all appearances, Phillips imported the drone into Russia then illegally transported it to Ukraine, without an export license. This sophisticated drone is capable of being flown out of sight.
Furthermore, Phillips now appears to be backed up in Ukraine by people who are attempting to improve the production values of his propaganda videos. In the recent past, Phillips' videos were poorly edited with terrible sound and generally abysmal production values. Now Phillips and his cohorts have mastered better editing techniques, even managing to put in some titling and split screens to enhance their pro-Kremlin propaganda. It is just slightly better packaged and benefits from the addition of some very steady drone footage.
Phillips admits on social media that he had flown his newly acquired drone over Ukrainian military positions on at least two occasions. He has been observed with Russian military soldiers, who appear to be guiding the drone.
In a revealing pro-Kremlin video from Donetsk dated June 26, Phillips verbally affirms his role as an information soldier in Russia's propaganda-fueled war in Ukraine, by his apparently candid conversation with a U.S. mercenary Russell Bonner Bentley III, who is known as Texas. He is a convicted drug smuggler, described by federal authorities as "a long-time Minneapolis drug-dealer."
Texas was sentenced in 1996 to 63-months in federal prison and 4-years supervised release, after pleading guilty to one count of "knowing and intentional possession with intent to distribute a quantity exceeding 100 kg of marijuana in the Southern district of Texas." Five other counts of marijuana possession and one for money laundering were dropped as part of the plea-bargain. Texas served the full 5 years in federal prison, after which he spent the next 4 years on supervised probationary release.
Interestingly, Phillips greets Texas (who has an armed soldier accompanying him) after appearing from behind a large cache of ammunition (next to two parked Russian armed forces tanks), stored next to a residential block close to Donetsk airport. It is believed this is the same area that Givi (leader of Somalia terrorist gang) has been using as a military base.
Phillips and Texas exchange pleasantries and say that they have been following each-other's work. Texas proclaims that part of the reason he is in Ukraine is from watching Phillips' videos in the U.S., adding "I'm glad to be working with you."
He continues, "I was here for 6 months and mostly fighting up here (Donetsk) and within Sparta. Now I'm doing the information war."
At 2:49 in the video, Phillips remarks, "now you're an information soldier, on the front lines of the information war under the constant shelling from the Ukrainian lies and the propaganda machine of distortion, manipulation, but I mean you know I absolutely believe that we'll win. A good guy like you comes onboard (as an information soldier) and does what you're doing, and it gives a lot of hope, a lot of inspiration, you know, to a lot of people."
Philips complains there are no western journalist covering the war and approvingly mentions reports by Texas for Anna (a Kremlin-backed Russian media outlet), that he says produces good quality videos on location, appealing to English speaking western audiences, which are well-received and important in spreading the message.
Phillips rambles on about western media twisting reports, while in fact he is utilizing the technique known as "mirroring" in an attempt to defect from his own uncorroborated and biased video-based reports from Ukraine. In fact, this is a typical Russian propaganda technique - accusing others of exactly what you are doing.
Kremlin Highly Values Graham Phillips' Propaganda
Since last returning to Ukraine in May, Phillips appears to have been assigned an armed guard of Russian GRU spetsnaz soldiers. They have accompanied him in a black Mercedes while filming on several occasions.
A well known kremlinologist, understood to be close to the Kremlin and its propaganda apparatus, compiles statistics and lists of performance in the social media space. In one list, "the top 15 twitter media experts", Phillips is in 3rd place - another indicator of the value that the Kremlin places in Phillips' propaganda.
Graham Phillips Awarded Medal and Certificate from the Border Service of the FSB of the Russian Federation
Border Guard of the FSB of the Russian Federation medal awarded to Graham Phillips in Chekhov, Russia, March 2, 2015 by Pavel Hlyupin (Pavel Semchuk in centre)
The award for "providing real help to Novorossiya," consisting of a medal and certificate, was presented to Phillips by Russian citizen Pavel Hlyupin, in Chekhov - a city about 70km South-West of Moscow.
The writing on Phillips' medal says "Border Brotherhood," a reference to an organization that appears to be first documented in this Russian article published November 14th, 2014.
Border Guard of the FSB of the Russian Federation medal awarded to Graham Phillips in Chekhov, Russia. March 2, 2015
Oddly, braggart Phillips did not publicize any close-up photos of the medal, nor publish a photo of the accompanying certificate, completely omitting it from all his social media announcements of the award.
However, on March 17, a Lopasnya VK post (linking to their story of Phillips' award) includes a set of photographs (archive link). One shows Hlyupin awarding the medal to Phillips, and another shows the medal complete with certificate and Graham Phillips' name handwritten in Russian. It is dated March 1, 2015, while social media posts on this topic suggest the award presentation took place on March 2, which is the date used herein.
Graham Phillips' actual award: a medal & certificate - a Distinction for support of Novorossiya
Russia's "Border Guard" and "Border Troops" are a branch of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Rusian Federation, whose head is Army General Vladimir Kulishov. He also serves as the Deputy Director of Russia's FSB.
Ukraine's Security Services (SBU) opened criminal proceedings against Kulishov. The former head of Ukraine's SBU Nalyvaichenko said the SBU detained Russian agents, including those working for Russia's FSB, on charges of financing and supporting insurgents in Ukraine, as well as arms smuggling to the rebellious Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Pavel Hlyupin is a former Russian border guard who served in Afghanistan and Tajikistan during the 1980's and 1990's in KGB Border Troop 48th Panj military unit No. 2066 which was part of an air assault maneuverability group conducting special border operations. He was awarded a medal for "protecting the state border of the USSR" and has reportedly received other state awards.
Evidently, Hlyupin's Afghan veteran comrades have been actively supporting delivery of supplies to the Donbas, as seen here in a video (by Russia's Ministry of Information channel) and photograph of KGB unit 1185 ODShB (Separate Airborne Assault Brigade) delivering aid to a school.
Russian Border Guard Afghanistan Veterans from KGB unit 1185 ODShB deliver aid to a school in the Donbas
In February, an exhibition was held in Russian-occupied Donetsk, Ukraine, that was dedicated to Russia's Afghan veterans. Russian TV filmed Russian border troops among the attendees.
Currently, Hlyupin has various business interests in Russia's pro-Kremlin media, including:
- Editor of Russian media site Lopasnya.ru
- Owning and running Border Guard forum Pogranec.ru
- Director of LLC Ru-media-info
It appears Hlyupin is also currently an elected deputy on the board of deputies of the city of Chekhov - a secretive suburb of Moscow where a large population of security services employees live close-by to a number of military bases. In this area the Russian General Staff wartime command post is buried deep underground, which is believed to be linked directly to the Kremlin by an underground rail link - the Moscow Metro-2 line operated by the FSB.
It would appear that Hlyupin has connections to the Russian State Duma (parliament) in Moscow. In June 2011, the State Duma Committee on Energy held an energy efficiency briefing at the State Duma. Hlyupin was the project manager of this "efficient Russia 2011" briefing.
About three-months later, on Sept. 19, he was rewarded for his work on the project, receiving a memorable letter of thanks signed by the Chairman of the State Duma Committee on Energy Yuri Lipatov and gifted a Swiss watch.
Also present at Phillips' presentation was Pavel Semchuk, a presenter for Comet radio.
On Nov. 24, 2014, Phillips was wounded by shrapnel in Pesky, near Donetsk airport.
He was taken to a field hospital in Donetsk, and it was during this treatment Hlyupin claims to have met Phillips for the first time.
However, Semchuk added Phillips as a friend on Facebook on Oct. 24, 2014. Also Phillips says he was friends with Semchuk prior to being wounded, and in a Facebook post dated Nov. 4 he says, "My new winter form, awesome!! Thank you Pavel Semchuk and Sasha for delivery!"
Note - the above photo appears to have been taken at the alleged "DPR" child-soldier training base near Donetsk airport.
In January, Phillips covered a story on child soldiers, and was seen photographed with a "DPR" child-soldier allegedly being trained at a "DPR" training base at Yasynuvata near Donetsk airport. It was the same area where Phillips was filmed in training firing a Russian PKP Pecheneg Machine gun, although it was not the first time he had been seen firing weapons in Ukraine - that was on Sept. 22, 2014 - the day before he says he started working for Russian MoD outlet, Zvezda.
And on Sept. 24, the day after starting to work for Zvezda, Phillips posted alleged inside information on Novorossiya's strategy in Ukraine.
Private Aid Operations from Russia to Ukraine Run by Pro-Kremlin Comet Radio Staff and Associates
Pavel Hlyupin, Pavel Semchuk and another Russian citizen, Alexandr Abramov have been openly promoting, organizing and transporting private humanitarian aid from Chekhov, Russia to the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, making trips every two weeks during the last few months.
Group photo near the Lopasnya River near Chekhov, Moscow region - Semchuk SM Post April 4, 2014
These activities caught the attention of a non-government Ukrainian site used by Ukraine's law enforcement, who accused Hlyupin of making illegal border crossings from Russian territory into Ukraine, and assisting Russian-backed forces fighting the Ukrainian government - putting him on the website as a wanted man.
Pavel Hlyupin's OK profile
Note: Phillips on a number of Hlyupin's OK social media photos.
Alexandr Abramov is a Russian citizen who states he lives in Chekhov-2, a closed military city stationed on the area of military unit No. 52583, native of Chekhov. Abramov, Hlyupin and Semchuk live in the same area, and have known each other personally for some time.
Abramov and Semchuk (Centre L and R) - VK post June 22, 2014
Abramov is the commander of a Russian military search party unit called Trizna, located in (military unit No. 52583) Chekhov-2, which (formally) repatriates Soviet WWII dead from the Donbas in Ukraine and Russia. (Unit structure)
Abramov is also an active member of Citadel, a Russian military patriotic club which entices and prepares young people to join Russia's armed forces.
Significantly, in December 2013, Abramov was presented with an award by a Russian MoD Lieutenant General from a unit in the Moscow Military District of Russia's Ground Forces, for his work as leader of Trizna.
Abramov VK post of "Trizna" award certificate presented by Russia's MoD
Additionally, Trizna awarded Abramov a letter of thanks.
Notably, Trizna has also received funding for search party activities in the form of a federal grant of 1.33 million rubles in Presidential decree No. 243 of July 25, 2014.
Abramov, whose military rank in Russia's armed forces is currently unknown, has been photographed with the "private aid" convoys that have been transporting supplies from Russia into east Ukraine in a number of social media posts, including a Feb. 3 set of photos, in which Phillips is also observed apparently receiving gifts of camera equipment from Semchuk.
Abramov and Hlyupin stand next to a car full of supplies
Abramov's search party unit Trizna has clearly been supporting Russia's proxy armies in eastern Ukraine for some time. In July 2014, Trizna posted details (including photos) of military supplies being sent to their proxies - with shipments including knives, boots and jackets.
Like Hlyupin, Semchuk openly discusses the privately funded aid trips into Ukraine, which he appears to be organizing (under Hlyupin). His Facebook page documents places he has visited and shows numerous trips from the Moscow region in Russia to the Donbas, eastern Ukraine.
Interestingly, in March Semchuk posted that he was organizing a rally for Victory day on May 9 at Savur-Mohyla monument near Snizhne village, Ukraine - located about five kilometers from the Russian border.
On May 9 Victory day, Hlyupin and Semchuk were indeed seen and photographed at Savur-Mohyla.
"DPR" PM" Alexandr Zakharchenko (left on crutches) at Savur-Mohyla
On the same day, Hlyupin was also photographed in Donetsk for the Victory day parade of Russia's military weapons systems and armor; which included Strela-10 Surface-to-Air Missile systems, GRAD systems, tanks and artillery.
Pavel Hlyupin waving the Russian Border Guard/Troop flag (note: Alexandr Maltsev of Vostok bat., on right)
Hlyupin and Semchuk were also at the Victory day rehearsal in Donetsk, as seen in Lopasnya's post of photos.
In a Feb. 13 Lopasnya article, Semchuk explains that himself, Hlyupin and Abramov have been transporting private Russian aid from individuals and firms into the Donbas in eastern Ukraine, traveling every two weeks between Chekhov, Russia and the Donetsk region. He says they have delivered aid to military hospitals, kindergartens and schools, including Boarding School No. 36 in Makiivka, Ukraine.
In a set of photographs dated Jan. 20 on Semchuk's Facebook page, Phillips is observed with one such aid convoy trip between Chekhov and School No. 36 in Makiivka, Ukraine, with Semchuk and soldiers delivering aid.
Verified location of school No. 36 in Makiivka
The soldier wearing the black beret (in the photos above with Phillips) is Alexandr Maltsev from the Donetsk region, who says he joined the "militia" ("DPR's" Vostok battalion, which allegedly has links to Russian GRU), when Strelkov left Slaviansk last July.
Before the war in Ukraine, Maltsev was the leader of a Ukrainian search party, Dzerzhynsk Association of researchers of military heritage "Platsdarm", who, in March 2013, found the remains of the father of a Russian general from Moscow, Petr Pashura - Deputy Chief of the General Staff of Russia. In a video report at the erection of a monument in the Donetsk region, Maltsev received an award by Pashura, and they were both interviewed about the find.
On April 6-7 last year, during an in-fighting incident between Russian-backed forces, Maltsev is known to have taken part in Vostok battalion's storming and seizure of the Donetsk Regional Administration building, in which the existing rebel leaders were removed and a number of arrests were made.
Maltsev has been providing security for the private aid convoys run by Hlyupin, Semchuk and Abramov, and they are observed together in numerous social media posts (including those from Strelkov's VKontakte social media account), traveling and delivering supplies in the Donetsk region.
He openly talks about supporting "militia" of the Don Cossacks under command of Ataman Safonov in Ukraine, in an interview with Lopasnya. Furthermore, Maltsev was quoted in a Bloomberg report of the incident as the spokesman for self-declared "DPR" leader Denis Pushilin.
"We've begun a cleanup of our ranks - we want to stop looting so this doesn't happen any more," Alexander Maltsev, a spokesman for separatist leader Denis Pushilin, said today by phone from Donetsk. "We detained 12 people yesterday and set up checkpoints around the city." (Bloomberg)
Note: Phillips interviewed Pushilin in December in a three-part series of videos (2nd & 3rd videos).
Givi (L), Hlyupin, Semchuk and Maltsev in Donetsk. SM post dated Dec 15, 2014
Pavel Semchuck and Alexandr Maltsev (R)
Maltsev wearing "Border brotherhood" medal
Maltsev is also observed wearing the exact same medal as Phillips was awarded, as seen in three photos.
Givi's Connection to Russian Supplies to Moscow's Proxy Forces in East Ukraine
A well known "rebel" commander in eastern Ukraine, Mikhail Tolstykh, known as Givi, who is on the EU sanctions list and was filmed abusing and humiliating Ukrainian POW's, has also been photographed by Semchuk with Maltsev, Hlyupin and Phillips. Note that supplies appear to be being delivered in the background.
Semchuk SM post of Hlyupin, Givi and Maltsev in the Donbas
In the following photo Phillips is photographed with Hlyupin (from Semchuk's Facebook post dated Dec. 30 and Comet radio's post of 31) apparently at the same time as the above photo with Givi.
In a series of posts on Semchuk's Facebook, Phillips is prolific, such as on Feb. 28 in a photo of him with Hlyupin and Semchuk.
Note: a photo search of "Semchuk" on Facebook brings back numerous photos of Phillips with Maltsev, Hlyupin, Abramov, including many taken during aid trips from Russia into Ukraine.
On Feb. 28, Semchuk reposted Phillips' Facebook post, a photo of him, again with Hlyupin and Semchuk.
Another photo from a Semchuk's Facebook post, of him with Givi and Hlyupin in Donetsk:
In another set of photos, from Strelkov's VK page, dated Dec. 14, Phillips is now also seen in the photo:
Furthermore, Phillips filmed a video of Maltsev, Hlyupin and Semchuk as they were socializing together, including posting a photo on Facebook.
Thus, he appears to have spent substantial time working and socializing with these individuals since he was wounded in eastern Ukraine in late November.
On another trip in late November 2014 when they were delivering "supplies" from Russia to eastern Ukraine, some interesting photographs from the Donbas were posted on Facebook by Semchuk, dated Nov. 30, and reposted by Phillips on Dec. 4. (Some of the photos were also posted on the "Peacemaker" site in which Hlyupin is identified as wanted). One of the photos (below) has been geolocated to Uspenka border crossing between Russia and Ukraine, which was captured by the Russians.
Pavel Hlyupin (far right), Pavel Semchuk (centre) and soldiers hold Russian Border Guard and Comet radio flags at Russian controlled Uspenka border crossing (Semchuk SM post, November 30th, 2014)
Verification of location:
In another photo posted by Phillips from the same series and trip, Maltsev of Vostok battalion is observed with Hlyupin and Semchuk.
Semchuk's Facebook post also verifies that Comet staff (him and Hlyupin) and Russia's Border Guard were in the Donbas, Ukraine at the time of the photos.
In a photo Phillips posted (dated Jan. 28), he appears to have been at the very same Uspenka border crossing point, where Hlyupin and Semchuck were photographed.
On Feb. 3, Semchuk thanks everyone including Abramov and Hlyupin for help in transporting food and medicine to Horlivka, including Maltsev for his help and providing security. But his mention of Graham Phillips is striking, because Semchuk identifies him as a reporter from a firm called VisMedia.
VisMedia may be a privately owned firm located in the Moscow region, which supplies broadcast video equipment from an online store, but their company data also lists a number of broad-ranging additional activities.
Kremlin Support for Russian Search Party Unit Operations
The search party operations seem to be important for Russia's MoD, as they prepared a consolidated annual plan for their search squad operations in Russia and abroad only last November. Deputy Defense Minister Bulgakov said that the recent amendments to Article 31 of Russia's Federal law was important because it now allowed state and local authorities to fund non-profit organizations in support of search party operations. (such as Trizna)
Further evidence of the Kremlin approving of the search party organizations is illustrated by Sergei Ivanov, the chief of Putin's administration and former Russian defense minister, who visited a memorial held by members and veterans in the Moscow region in December.
On Feb. 18, Russian search squad units from all over Russia gathered in Moscow and took part in a anti-Maidan march. In the large number of photos it is clear mostly young people gathered in this Kremlin-approved protest.
Search Party Members Fighting and Killed in Ukraine
Search party unit members are known to have been killed fighting in Ukraine. For example: Alexandr Abramov's wife Elena, posted details of the death of a Trizna search party member Mishka Repin:
"Trizna encountered a heavy loss. Today we received tragic news from Novorossiya. Our friend Mishka Repin (Leshyi) has been killed in the Luhansk region. He was the best."
On June 2 last year, Trizna posted news that Alexandr Giza, the leader of another search party unit "Cascade", was killed in a missile attack on Russian-backed forces at the Luhansk administration building. The incident was captured on CCTV, and there are a number of social media posts on his death. Of particular interest is one posted by Trizna.
Abramov recently updated his profile photo to one of him with a man called Kirill Dolinsky, who was also photographed in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine in November 2014.
As seen in the above photo, Kirill Dolinsky is the man with Alexandr Abramov next to the car full of supplies on one of their aid trips from Russia into Ukraine.
Kirill is also known to have had military training by Russian engineering troops in handling explosives:
Available information makes it clear that Russian military patriotic clubs, like Citadel, are being used not only to entice and influence young people, but also as a cover for Russia's ongoing covert operations in Ukraine.
Search parties repatriating WWII dead from Ukraine - in conjunction with alleged cover to resupply Russian Federation proxies ("DPR"/"LPR") in Ukraine with weapons, contraband, etc. - are being used for the same nefarious purpose.
Russia is not only recruiting and training Ukraine's young, but is also utilizing the experience of Afghan veterans (with Hlyupin as one of many examples) in a unconventional, "special war" against Ukraine.
Herein lies the problem: Graham Phillips, an infamous British born propagandist, who poses as a journalist for Russian media in Ukraine was awarded a Border Guard medal for services to Novorossiya by the FSB.
The pro-Kremlin propaganda he produced has mainly been as an employee of Russia's MoD outlet Zvezda (since September 2014). He has been consistently associating and producing propaganda on the activities of Russian citizens who have active links to Russia's military and search party units, who from all appearances have been masquerading as aid relief to resupply and support Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine.
But has Graham Phillips actually been working for Russia's FSB? The evidence seems to support this conclusion. Therefore, should he be treated as a member of the press - or a "weaponized tool in Russia's extensive military arsenal?