UK has no grounds to ban journalist Phillips from leaving his country – ambassador
British Ambassador to Ukraine Judith Gough has said she was appalled by the behavior of British journalist Graham Phillips during the release of Ukrainian captive Volodymyr Zhemchuhov, however the UK government has no reason to prohibit him from leaving the country.
In a statement published on the official Facebook page of the UK Embassy in Ukraine on Friday, Gough said she watched the video of the prisoner exchange and was appalled by Graham Phillips' behavior towards Zhemchuhov.
She noted that a lot of people called on the UK to deprive Phillips of the British passport. However, the UK government does not have sufficient grounds to do this. Phillips did not commit any offenses in the UK, which could become the basis for the British government to ban him from leaving the country, Gough said. If he violated Ukrainian legislation, it is up to the Ukrainian authorities to decide on appropriate actions in relation to Phillips in Ukraine, she added.
The ambassador also praised the work of First Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Iryna Gerashchenko in the humanitarian area, in particular her interaction with people who live near or within the conflict zone in Donbas.
Phillips is a British journalist and blogger who cooperated with the Russian TV channels Russia Today and Zvezda (The Star).
As reported, Ukrainian nationals Volodymyr Zhemchuhov and Yuriy Suprun were exchanged under the "two for four" formula in the village of Schastia in Luhansk region on September17.
Deputy Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Iryna Gerashchenko, who was present during the exchange, said Phillips was trying to provoke Zhemchuhov. She said he was insulting him, trying to create a scandal and thereby disrupt the exchange.
On September 22, Ukrainian Ambassador to the United Kingdom Natalia Galibarenko asked the British authorities to take specific measures to stop the activities of journalist Graham Phillips in Ukraine.