Ukraine journey publicity round up
I spent November 2022 in Ukraine to show solidarity, and see my friends, see for myself what was happening, and to tell people outside what it was really like. I travelled to and across central and south Ukraine to Zaporizhzhia and later Odesa. With thanks to the media who have let me tell the story of my independent visit, so that they can share with their listeners and readers direct factual information. Here is a round up of the media coverage. Feel free to look at any of the links just so that they get more ‘hits’. I remain in touch with friends regularly and with developments every day.
Links here, more on each below.
1. BBC Radio Merseyside, Tuesday 22 November. A ten minute long interview about the situation in Zaporizhzhia during the war. File attached with thanks to producer Leanne Harper.
[I am having difficulty uploading the audio file and will try again – for now here is a link to the file on YouTube]
2. British Liberal magazine, Liberator.
My article on being in Ukraine, with some more political content than in my social media posts: Liberator 415, 4 December 2022, at pages 12 – 14 https://liberatormagazine.org.uk/back-issues/
(click on the 415 icon to download) *
3. The Liverpool Echo, Sunday 18 December 2022. Ukrainians ‘always happy’ to speak to Scouser in Odesa about two things https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/ukrainians-always-happy-speak-scouser-25762505
As I said to friend James on Twitter, and others .. Of course everyone knows I can’t actually claim to be a Scouser (though I was born in the Liverpool district of Walton 🙂 ). Note, 3/03/23. You can tell I was flustered the morning after I arrived in Odesa (in a blackout) as in the voice update I recorded – which the Echo reporter used – I kept calling the Eurovision song contest, ‘the European song contest’. I wasn’t used to the noise of generators then either which were going in the background. I’ve always argued that Odessa is the best Ukrainian city to host the Eurovision song contest (except the airport was too small before the Russians blew it up).
4. The Law Society Gazette, 6 January 2023 ‘Advice in conflict’.
The magazine of the Law Society of England & Wales published a feature interviewing Ukrainian lawyers, and me also. They make me sound a bit more dashing than I was in fact.
This is a good long read about how Ukrainian lawyers are coping during the war and helping defeat the Russian invasion.
5 The Deerfield Valley News, Wilmington, Vermont, USA. ‘On the road to Ukraine: Trying to maintain normalcy’, front page article 5 January 2023.
https://www.dvalnews.com/news/road-ukraine-trying-maintain-normalcy (subscription required).
Acknowledgments & background
1. BBC Radio Merseyside is the station for the Liverpool city region & one of the most listened to stations in the UK. This was broadcast at approx. 07:05 UK time one hour into the programme.
With thanks to Paul Salt and producer Leanne Harper. Knowing my experience in Ukraine Radio Merseyside wanted to interview me early in the war which I couldn’t do as I was working in a politically sensitive diplomatic job in the Balkans. So I missed talking when towns I knew were occupied, places I lived in bombed (Chernihiv, Odesa), cities I knew, Kyiv, Kkarkiv, & even the University halls where I usually stay hit in a Russian attack. The picture on the file (so I can upload the audio as a video) is President Zelenskyy’s nightly address in between the Schwarzenegger movie on one of my first nights in Zaporizhzhia (glitzy wallpaper). The conversion via the free service of https://voice2v.com/ On You Tube the thumbnail is with volunteers at World Central Kitchen in the city.
2. Liberator magazine. * Also see issue 412 (April) for my original 2019 article on the election of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, which was reprinted there, with some updated commentary. ‘Ukraine’s comedian president is no comic’. Pages 6-7, & see commentary pages 8 – 9. https://liberatormagazine.org.uk/back-issues/
I also commissioned the article on the language question in Ukraine by lawyers Iryna Barlit and Vladyslav Bandrovsky, in issue 413 (June) ‘Speak as you like’, where in answering my questions the authors explain how propaganda of discrimination against Russian speakers is an invented grievance, not matched by experience.
3. Thanks to the Liverpool Echo & reporter Paddy Edrich for helping publicise what it is really like in Ukraine. Being from UK & Liverpool is popular 😊. Paddy crafted a balanced article from an audio recording I made in Odesa and our correspondence on Twitter, giving some exclusive insights for the Echo including my meeting British and American volunteers fighting with the Ukrainians. A shame I was in the city at the same time as Times correspondent and school friend Richard Lloyd Parry but we didn’t manage to meet. Richard went to the front lines to get his copy – I did not.
Only one funny thing slipped in the edit somewhere. One picture is from Zaporizhzhia, not Odesa. That is no different as you can see pictures the same of damage to civilian homes anywhere in Ukraine, it is typical. While the second to last quote which looks like it is from me is from President Zelenskyy from his nightly address after the then most recent missile attacks against civilian energy infrastructure, just after I left the city. **
4. The cover story of January’s Law Society Gazette (the magazine of the Law Society of England & Wales, professional body for solicitors). The feature by Eduardo Reyes, interviewing Ukrainian lawyers, also includes my observations after my 4000km (2500 mile) driving round trip & a month in Ukraine, 3 weeks in Zaporizhzhia, on the effect of the war there: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/features/advice-in-conflict-/5114716.article
Eduardo is an old friend from Liberal Democrat Youth & Student days in the mid 1990s.
5. The Deerfield Valley News, of Wilmington, Vermont.
The News Editor, Michael Eldred, is an election observer colleague and friend, from meeting in North Macedonia. Michael is also a former US serviceman – early warning station operator! The newspaper is available only to subscribers but for the week of publication viewers could a preview of the article on the front page, including a nice picture with volunteers at the World Central Kitchen public restaurant at Beluga restaurant bar in Zaporizhzhia.
** I explained on Facebook. The photo of missile damage is actually in Zaporizhzhia (a destroyed car showroom and all windows blown out in an apartment block next to where my friends live, and used to live). Civilian blocks had had their windows blown in by Russian missiles next to where I was staying, and where I used to visit, and stay. One glitch in the edit, the second to last quote in the Echo article you will guess is actually from President Zelenskyy’s nightly address, when the electricity in Odesa was totally off for days after the huge Russian missile strike on the power infrastructure, just a few days after I was in the city.
Telling people what the country is really like (positive and negative) is what I have done during my regular visits to volunteer & professionally since first visiting in May 2014. I know the Russian propaganda is untrue as I worked in Ukraine many times since 2014. The people are united in these times.
Ukraine journey publicity round up