"Debaltseve" and the narrative of the Donbas war in Ukrainian and UK media. Film screening and a panel discussion. January 24, 2017, 6:30pm

Eugene Stepanenko, a Ukrainian war correspondent and TV presenter, brings to London a documentary telling a dramatic story of the battle for Debaltsevo, a key transport hub in the war-town east of Ukraine. In February 2015, it witnessed a tense stand-off between Ukrainian on one hand,  and Russian troops and the local militia allied with them, on the other. Being virtually encircled and facing massive artillery fire and a tank-guided offensive, Ukrainians were forced to withdraw in order to prevent a massive loss of life.

The re-worked version of the film will be premiered at this event and will be followed by a panel discussion with Eugene Stepanenko, the film director, Roland Oliphant, the Daily Telegraph correspondent in Ukraine, and Samir Puri, a lecturer of the War Studies Department at King's College, London. The discussion will debate the film, look at the coverage of the war in Ukrainian and British media, how the narrative of this war has evolved and is impacted by Russia's concerted effort to obscure the the presence of its troops on the Ukrainian soil and the challenges to keep this conflict on the agenda of the global media.


DATE: 24 January 2017

TIME: 6:30pm

VENUE: Community Centre, 154 Holland Park Avenue, London W11 4UH


The event will include a film screening (50min), followed by a panel discussion and a wine reception.

Admission is free.



Eugene Stepanenko, War Correspondent, Presenter, TV channel UA: First, Kyiv, Ukraine

Roland Oliphant, Moscow correspondent, Daily Telegraph

Samir Puri, Lecturer, Department of War Studies, King's College, London

The discussion will be in English and will be moderated by Marina Pesenti, Director of the Ukrainian Institute.


Speakers' biographies:

Eugene Stepanenko

Eugene has spent more than 15 years in St. Petersburg (Russia). He now lives in Ukraine and together with Yuri Makarov leads project "War and Peace" ("³ ") on the state owned TV channel UA: First. Eugene has been on the front line in the east since 2014 in a variety of roles: with the National Guard of Ukraine, looking after Chief of a volunteer mobile hospital, as a spokesman for Mariupol Defence Headquarters as as part of the Anti-Terrorist Centre. He served in the special purpose unit at different points in the Donbas. In civilian life  he is a film director, engaged in film production, creation of the cycle TV projects. He has graduated from the French film school and worked as director-producer on the TV channel "TV 100" and "First Caucasian Informational."

Roland Oliphant

Roland Oliphant is the Daily Telegraph's Moscow correspondent. He has covered the Maidan protests, the annexation of Crimea, and the war in Donbas. He has lived in and reported from the former Soviet Union for the best part of a decade.  Roland holds an MA in philosophy from the university of Edinburgh. He has reported from both sides of the lines in Donbas. On his last last assignment he spent several days with a Ukrainian infantry unit on the front line near Novoluhansk. His 2015 report on the battle of Debaltsevo is here


Samir Puri

Samir Puri is a Lecturer in the Department of War Studies. He holds a BA in History and Politics from Warwick University, an MA (distinction) in War Studies from King’s College London, and a PhD from Cambridge University. His doctoral dissertation examined different strategies for dealing with armed groups in Pakistan and Turkey. He spent six years working for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (2009-15). In 2014-15 he was seconded to the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission in eastern Ukraine. His duties involved patrolling in the field, and reporting on ceasefire violations and weapons withdrawals in line with the Minsk process.  


The film trailer could be viewed here:

Te event is held in partnership with the Association of Ukrainian in Great Britain, London Branch.