Little Amal honours Ukraine by laying flowers outside embassy in London
The Independent

A British journalist in Ukraine was asked to write “Putin is a c**k” to prove he wasn’t an undercover Russian soldier.

The Guardian’s Shaun Walker told the paper’s Today in Focus podcast that he was asked to write the insult at a Ukrainian checkpoint.

Walker has been travelling across the country for the past two weeks, reporting what’s happening on the ground.

In a recording played on the podcast, he explained that new checkpoints are springing up every day every kilometre or two along the roads.

He said: “Some of the bigger [posts] are armed by professional soldiers but most of the small ones are just blokes with guns, sometimes a bit nervous, most of the time friendly.”

As he made his way through one of the many checkpoints on the way into Kyiv, he remarked that those guarding on the posts are “on the hunt for suspicious Russians in disguise”.

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He said that sometimes, they suspect the team are “Russians pretending to be journalists”, but he said it’s usually okay.

For the checkpoint he had just passed through, Walker said: “They just checked the back, the boot, and told me to write that Putin is a ‘c**k’.

“So wasn’t particularly difficult to get through that one.”

On Twitter, Walker later shared a picture showing how a road sign in Odessa had been… customised.

For more on Ukraine, visit The Independent’s live blog.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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