British Citizen Exposed as a Tool of Russia's FSB


Graham Phillips (center) escorted by Russia's DNR soldiers after being wounded in Ukraine on Nov 24th 2014
Robert Schultz @RobPulseNews
Report 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.

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'.


Graham Phillips next to Pavel Semchuck (L) & Pavel Hlyupin (R)
on day of award in Chekhov, Moscow Region - SM post March 2nd
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 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 benefitting 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.
Phillips holding a weapon, saluting, SM post January 21st 2015
In August last year Phillips willfully disregarded the 3-year ban and RT's advice, boasting of his unlawful return to East Ukraine (traveling via Russia), by illegally crossing Ukraine's Eastern border.

Phillips started working for Zvezda (Star) in Ukraine on September 23rd, 2014, filing numerous video reports (e.g.: Dec 14th, Feb 6th and 10th.) Zvezda is a Russian TV network owned by Russia's Ministry of Defense (MoD) 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 east Ukraine to the UK in early March, Phillips claimed (on social media March 21st) that he no longer works for them. However, it seems Zvezda are still employing him   on July 12th 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 17th, 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 are they “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 east Ukraine, DNR and LNR. 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, DNR, captured the strategic railway hub of Debaltseve. (FT)
Graham Phillips with Dimitry Kulko after Debaltseve fell to Russian-backed forces
on Feb 18th, 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 (via Moscow and the Netherlands to supposedly 'assist' in the MH17 investigation), for four hours under Schedule 7 of the 2000 Terrorism Act about his activities in 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 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 22nd which was organized by the Rodina party, headed by Russia’s Deputy PM, Dmitry Rogozin. KHPG’s report dated March 20th, 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.
Screenshot 2015-07-02 16.33.28.png
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 9th) - 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 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, as seen here:
In a revealing pro-Kremlin video from Donetsk dated June 26th, Phillips verbally affirms his role as a ‘information soldier’ in Russia’s propaganda-fuelled 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” 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.” [0:47]
He continues, “I was here 6-months and mostly fighting up here [Donetsk] and ‘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 and 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 outlet), that he says produce good quality videos on location, appeal to English speaking western audiences, 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 bias video-based ‘reports’ from Ukraine. In fact, this is a typical Russian propaganda technique - that of accusing others of exactly what you are doing.

(additional video:)

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.

CIDtbxLWUAAYDhF.png
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.Screenshot 2015-01-27 22.48.50.png



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 2nd, 2015 by Pavel Hlyupin (Pavel Semchuck in centre) - Source permalink VK post
Phillips' SM post March 2nd
The award given to Phillips, a "distinction" for "providing real help to New Russia," 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 2nd 2015 (permalink)

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 17th 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 1st 2015, while social media posts on this topic suggest the award presentation took place on March 2nd, which is the date used herein.
Graham Phillips' actual award: a medal & certificate - a "Distinction" for "support of Novorossiya" (Source: permalink)

Certificate translated:
(Top left above medal)
The 
"Distinction of the Border Brotherhood"
(On right)
CERTIFICATE
Graham
William
Phillips (handwritten)
AWARDED "DISTINCTION
OF THE BORDER
BROTHERHOOD"
For providing
real help
to Novorossiya!
Administration
PROGRANETS.RF
Dated: March 1st 2015
Group photo on day of Phillips' award, March 2nd (Source: permalink VK post)

Russia's "Border Guard" and "Border Troops" are a branch of the Border Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Rusian Federation, who's 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, Nalivaichenko, 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 Lugansk 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 2066 (В/Ч 2066) which was part of an air assault maneuverability group (DSHMG) 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 Donbas, as seen here in a video (by Russia's Ministry of Information channel) and photograph of KGB unit 1185 ODSHB (Отдельная десантно штурмовая бригада - Separate Airborne Assault Brigade) delivering aid to a school: 
Russian Border Guard Afghanistan Veterans from KGB unit 1185 DSHMG deliver aid to a school in 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:
Banner says “Border troops. There are no former border troopers.
Currently, Hlyupin has various business interests in Russia's pro-Kremlin media, including: 
  • Editor of Russian media site Lopasnya.ru

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 September 19th, 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:
Source: Lopasnya article

Also present at Phillips' presentation was Pavel Semchuck, a presenter for Comet radio.

On November 24th 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. (Source, Lopasnya VK post):

However, Semchuck added Phillips as a friend on Facebook on October 24th, 2014. Also Phillips says he was friends with Semchuck prior to being wounded, and in a Facebook post dated November 4th 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 DNR child-soldier training base near Donetsk airport:


In January, Phillips covered a story on child soldiers, and was seen photographed with a DNR child-soldier allegedly being trained at a DNR training base at Yasyunavata 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 September 22nd 2014 - the day before he says he started working for Russian MoD outlet, Zvezda.
And on September 24th, 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 Semchuck 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 - Semchuck SM Post April 4th 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 their website as effectively a "wanted" man.

(Note: Phillips on a number of Hlyupin's OK social media photos)

Pavel Hlyupin's OK profile

Alexandr Abramov is a Russian citizen who states he lives in Chekhov-2, a closed military city stationed on the area of military unit 52583, NE of Chekhov. Abramov, Hlyupin and Semchuck live in the same area, and have known each other personally for some time.
Abramov and Semchuck (Centre L and R) - VK post June 22nd 2014 (Source: Permalink)

Alexandr Abramov (L)  Pavel Semchuck (C) at Comet radio's studio standing in front of its flag
Abramov is the commander of a Russian military "search party" unit called Trizna, located in [military unit 52583] Chekhov-2, which [formally] repatriates Soviet WWII dead from 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:
Source: Citadel website
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's Trizna award presented by LT General of Russia's MoD from a Moscow Military District unit of Russia's Ground Forces

Abramov VK post of "Trizna" award certificate presented by Russia's MoD (Source: permalink)
Additionally, Trizna awarded Abramov a letter of thanks:
Abramov's VK post of letter of thanks from "Trizna" (Source: permalink)
Notably, Trizna has also received funding for search party activities in the form of a federal grant of 1.33M rubles in Presidential decree No.243 of July 25th 2014.
Abramov, who's 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 February 3rd set of photo's, in which Phillips is also observed apparently receiving gifts of camera equipment from Semchuck.
Source link
Source link
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, Semchuck 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 Donbas, East Ukraine. 
Interestingly, in March Semchuck posted that he was organizing a rally for Victory day on May 9th at Savur-Mohyla monument near Snezhnoye, Ukraine — located about 5km from the Russian border:
On May 9th Victory day, Hlyupin and Semchuck were indeed seen and photographed at Savur-Mohyla.
Lopasnya SM post: source permalink

"DNR PM"Alexandr  Zakharchenko (left on crutches) at Savur-Mohyla - Lopasnya SM post: source permalink
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 Semchuck were also at the Victory day rehearsal in Donetsk, as seen in Lopasnya's post of photos: 
In a February 13th Lopasnya article, Semchuck explains that himself, Hylupin and Abramov have been transporting private Russian aid from individuals and firms into the Donbas in East 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 January 20th on Semchuck's Facebook, Phillips is observed with one such aid convoy trip between Chekhov and School No.36 in Makiivka, Ukraine, with Semchuck and soldiers delivering aid.
Verified location of school no. 36 in Makiivka:
Alexander Maltsev
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" (DNR'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, Dzerzhinskaya Association of researchers of military heritage, "Platsdarm" ("Плацдарм") 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 6-7th 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.

Source: Permalink)
Maltsev has been providing security for the "private aid" convoys run by Hlyupin, Semchuck 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 DNR 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, Semchuck and Maltsev in Donetsk. SM post dated Dec 15th, 2015
Pavel Semchuck and Alexandr Maltsev (R)
Maltsev wearing "Border brotherhood" medal - VK post (Source: Permalink)
Maltsev wearing "Border brotherhood" medal - VK post (Source: Permalink)
Maltsev is also observed wearing the exact same medal as Phillips was awarded, as seen in three photos. Here  and here (above) and a third (below), all posted recently to his VK page.
Semchuck wearing "Border brotherhood" medal (partially obscured but identifiable - source: VK post permalink)

The “Givi” 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 Semchuck with Maltsev, Hlyupin and Phillips. Note that supplies appear to be being delivered in the background. (Semchuck's FB)
Semchuck SM post of Hlyupin, Givi and Maltsev in Donbas- source: permalink
In the following photo Phillips is photographed with Hlyupin (from Semchuck's Facebook post dated December 30th and Comet radios post of 31st ) apparently at the same time as the above photo with "Givi".
Semchuck SM post - source: permalink
In a series of posts on Semchuck's Facebook, Phillips is prolific, such as on February 28th in a photo of him with Hlyupin and Semchuck:
Note: a photo search of "Semchuck" on Facebook brings back numerous photos of Phillips with Maltsev, Hlyupin, Abramov, including many taken during aid trips from Russia into Ukraine.
On February 28th Semchuck reposted Phillips' Facebook post, a photo of him, again with Hlyupin and Semchuck.
Another photo from a Semchuck's Facebook post, of him with Givi and Hlyupin in Donetsk:
In another set of photos, from Strelkov's VK pagedated December 14th, Phillips is now also seen in the photo:
Furthermore, Phillips filmed a video of Maltsev, Hlyupin and Semchuck as they were socializing together, including posting a photo on Facebook.
Video still from Graham Phillips video dated December 14th 2014
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 "Donbas" were posted on Facebook by Semchuck, dated November 30th, and reposted by Phillips on December 4th. (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. (note Hlyupin on far right with weapon over his shoulder in photo):
Pavel Hlyupin (far right), Pavel Semchuck (centre) and soldiers hold Russian Border Guard and Comet radio flags at Russian controlled Uspenka border crossing (Semchuck SM post, November 30th, 2014) 

The green flag says, "Border Troops" and "There are no Former Border Troopers". The web address below is www.pogranec.ru — the Boarder Guard/Troop forum owned and run by Hylupin — an information portal for Russia's Border guard, troops. The orange flag says "First Chekhov Radio" and "Comet", plus its website Kometa.fm.
Verification of location:

In another photo posted by Phillips from the same series and trip, Maltsev of "Vostok" battalion is observed with Hlyupin and Semchuck:
Semchuck's Facebook post also verifies that Comet staff (him and Hlyupin) and Russia's Border Guard were in Donbas, Ukraine at the time of the photos:

In a photo Phillips posted (dated January 28th), he appears to have been at the very same Uspenka border crossing where Hlyupin and Semchuck were photographed:

Phillips SM post (Source: permalink)
On February 3rd, Semchuck 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 Semchuck identifies him as a reporter from a firm called VisMedia.
Я вернулся из Донецка. В Горловку в этот раз лично съездить не удалось. Мои друзья сказали что сейчас там мне делать не... Posted by Pavel Semchuk on Tuesday, February 3, 2015
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 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 February 18th, 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, 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: 
Translated: 
"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 2nd last year Trizna posted news that Alexander 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:

SM post - source: permalink
Abramov recently updated his profile photo to one of him with a man called Krill Dolinsky, who was also photographed in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine in November 2014.
Social media post: Source permalink
As seen in the above photo, Krill Dolinsky is the man with Alexandr Abramov next to the car full of supplies on one of their aid trips from Russia into Ukraine.

Krill 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 (DNR/LNR) 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.
Source ViceNews video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vJPL6PYDTM

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 'New Russia' 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 east 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?

 

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