24 October 2016

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British Ambassador advises Ukraine to deal with propagandist Phillips on its own

Ambassador of the United Kingdom Judith Gough advises the Ukrainian authorities to deal with Kremlin-backed propagandist, British national Graham Phillips on their own.

Amid a prisoner swap in Donbas /
Amid a prisoner swap in Donbas /

"I've seen the footage of a swap of prisoners last week and, like [Ukrainian MP] Iryna Gerashchenko and [acting Health Minister] Ulana Suprun, I was shocked with Graham Phillips' behavior towards [Ukrainian handicapped hostage] Volodymyr Zhemchugov. In my belief, this is far from being journalism. Many people have called on Great Britain to strip him of his passport. 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. If he has violated Ukrainian law, it is within the powers of Ukrainian authorities to decide on measures against Mr. Phillips," Gough wrote on Facebook.

Gerashchenko calls "shame" situation with blocking release of hostagesThe British Ambassador praised Iryna Gerashchenko's efforts within the humanitarian subgroup in the Trilateral Contact Group on Donbas in Minsk. "As the case with all conflicts, the people who live near and in the zone of a conflict suffer most. And her [Gerashchenko's] job lets us remember this," she said.

As UNIAN reported, Ambassador of Ukraine to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Natalia Galibarenko posted an open letter, asking London to tackle Phillips after his attempt to verbally attack and abuse a Ukrainian hostage amid a swap operation with the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic.

According to the footage, Phillips accuses Zhemchugov – who lost both hands and his sight in a mine blast in September 2015, then spent a year in separatist custody – of speaking "like a brainwashed zombie" and being "not such a smart guy" whose injuries came in a failed effort at sabotage, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported. The latter charge echoes allegations made by separatists that Zhemchugov was wounded while acting as a saboteur.

He also tells the prisoner that no one needs him anymore because he lost his arms.

Zhemchugov, who describes himself as "an educated man" who is familiar with Phillips' work, responds to the Briton's taunts by calling him a "traitor, pro-Putin propaganda scum."

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