They closed her YouTube channel, blocked her PayPal account, and sentenced her to three years in prison without trial for interviewing Ukrainian citizens in the Donbas.
A German journalist living in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region has been criminally charged by the German government for interviewing Ukrainian citizens and reporting her findings.
Independent reporter, 28-year-old Alina Lipp, moved to the Donbas area six months ago, where she transmits first-hand information to her audience in German, Russian, and English from her telegram channel.
Lipp claims she is only doing what any journalist would do — interviewing citizens and documenting what is happening around her.
The journalist explained she is “doing interviews with people in Donetsk and merely translating them into German.”
“I am simply filming everything I see around,” Lipp added.
She inquired rhetorically “what is it that’s illegal in that, or dangerous?”
The controversy around Lipp began in March when one of her videos explaining the history and the context of the war went viral.
In Lipp’s viral video, she said, “you need to understand that Russia has been asking for eight years that the Minsk agreement be upheld. Ukraine did not adhere to it, nor did they approach the Donbas region in an attempt to agree.”
“Instead, they have been bombing the outskirts of the Donbas region for eight years. They are shooting at civilians, who now also have to live in completely shot-up houses. Very many people have died here,” Lipp continued.
In the video, Lipp alleged that the Donbas citizens who overwhelmingly voted to secede from Ukraine in 2014 had been, “thankful that Russia finally did something”.
Lip added, “Finally, the people here have been liberated from the terror that they’ve been experiencing for the last eight years,” under continuous shelling by the Ukrainian military.
Soon after the video went viral, Lipp’s YouTube channel was closed, her PayPal account was blocked, and the Ukrainian government labeled her a “terrorist”.
Last month, the journalist received a letter from Germany’s prosecutor’s office which states that she now faces three years in prison for supporting Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
This comes after German authorities closed down her bank account and her father’s bank account without warning.
In a recent interview, Lipp explained, “The letter says that, for example, I say in my Telegram channel that the population of Donbas supports the fact that Russia has launched a special operation.”
“I also said that for several years Ukrainians have been killing civilians in the Donbas and that this is genocide and it turns out to be a crime for Germany, so they took 1,600 euro from my bank account and didn’t even tell me about it,” Lipp said.
According to Lipp, the German government has declared her guilty and she will not be able to defend herself in court.
“At the end of the letter, he says that they are not going to invite me to a hearing because this would ‘disturb the investigations,’ and that is very interesting, so they are charging me, but they do not want to listen to me,” she said in a video posted to her telegram channel.
Despite the charges against her, Alina Lipp plans to continue reporting from Donetsk, which she said is being shelled daily by the Ukrainian armed forces.