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Anne-Laure Bonnel, the journalist censored according to Moscow, speaks on the Donbass

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As Vladimir Putin has decided to intervene militarily in Ukraine and an unprecedented propaganda campaign has descended on both himself and Russia, it is important to understand the recent historical context so as not to to be influenced or even fooled by the media-lies that abound these days.

In this “information war”, the documentary by Anne-Laure Bonnel, independent journalist, shot in the Donbass in 2015, comes to us as a very precious legacy for all seekers of Truth.

Reporter Anne-Laure Bonnel spoke on CNews on March 1 to denounce the Ukrainian strikes on the Russian-speaking population of Donbass, going so far as to mention “crimes against humanity”.

Why the journalist is at the heart of a controversy

“Russia is not being attacked, it is the aggressor,” Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday March 2 during a televised address. Moscow reacted very quickly through its Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, accusing the President of censoring a French journalist: “She, who went to the Donbass, published her observations […] and called on Westerners to look the truth in the face. She did not have the right to make this publication but her comment is available on the internet, so I invite you to read the facts”. She is referring here to the tweets of the French journalist, deleted by the platform.

But Anne-Laure Bonnel stood out above all during her appearance on Cnews , recalling that the conflict in the Donbass has been going on for eight years. She then said “that the Russian-speaking Ukrainian population of Donbass has been targeted by their own government. It was bombed by the Kiev government”. Affirming that from where she was “exactions are Ukrainian”. She also mentioned 13,000 deaths since 2014.

What do we blame him for?

After her appearance on CNews, there was a huge buzz on social media, spreading the false rumor of her account suspension. What she is mainly criticized for is her lack of bias, especially in her 2016 documentary.

The correspondent of Le Monde in Russia, Benoît Vitkine, reproaches him for having been only towards the pro-Russian separatists. “She was carried around in the separatist territories by… officials from these same territories. It is them that we heard, in the film, asking questions to the witnesses, not the journalist”. She defends herself to CheckNews by claiming to have made “a request to Kiev to go to the Donbass, but they had blocked access to the insurgent zone to journalists. I learned then that I was prohibited from territory for ten years for having filmed the other side”.

Another problem: she affirms that 13,000 victims have been counted in the Donbass since the start of the conflict in 2014. Indeed, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the number of victims is established at 13,000, but it is necessary to detail it. According to the UN, there are “at least 3,350 civilians, around 4,100 members of Ukrainian forces and around 5,650 members of pro-Russian armed groups”. The majority of them were therefore not civilians. Abuses have been committed on both sides, which is unfortunately often the case during an armed conflict. The International Criminal Court has nevertheless opened an investigation.

Who is Anne-Laure Bonnel?

The journalist is 40 years old. She presents herself in her Twitter biography as “Real – Reporter – Photo-journalist, without filter, without photoshop, without cropping”. On her Linkedin profile she claims to have been a reporter and consultant for Spicee for over 7 years. Information that this online media would have denied according to CheckNews .

During a debate organized by the Franco-Russian Dialogue association in 2020, she would have “refused to be called a journalist” saying that she was “extremely disappointed by the profession” after going to Donbass. In 2016 she made a documentary in the eastern enclave of Ukraine, standing alongside the separatists.

“Donbass: Report by Anne-Laure Bonnel”. 2015

Anne-Laure Bonnel, a young director and mother of a French family, decides to accompany Alexandre, a father of Ukrainian origin, to the Donbass region, in the east of Ukraine in the pro-Russian zone. At the heart of the war, she captures the terrible images of a deadly conflict and an unprecedented humanitarian disaster. Donbass is an immersive road movie, a gripping documentary film in a torn country.

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