Tv Host Praised After 'Car Crash' Interview With Russian Ambassador

An Irish news presenter has been praised for his ‘fearless’ interview with Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yuri Filatov, with social media users branding the conversation a ‘masterclass’ in journalism.

Filatov appeared on RTÉ’s Six One News yesterday (25 February), where presenter David McCullagh gave him a grilling about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, beginning the segment by asking 'when the aggression against' the country would end.

Filatov replied: "I understand that is an emotional question, and it’s an incredibly emotional issue for many people here in Ireland. For Russia, it is emotional as well.

"What we are talking [about] here is really a humanitarian tragedy in Donbas."

McCullagh cut in: "It is a humanitarian tragedy un Ukraine, Ambassador.

"Amnesty International has documented indiscriminate attacks on civilian areas and strikes on protected objects such as hospitals by your country’s army."

Filatov shrugged: "Well, if you want to make a statement then you are free to do so."

McCullagh then said: "I’m quoting Amnesty Intentional, sir."

At this point, Filatov asked if he could share some basic facts, McCullagh responded: “Please, try your best.”

As Filatov went on, McCullagh continued to challenge him – at one point telling him: “Ambassador, you’re giving us the Russian version of events. Why should our viewers believe the Russian version of events when Russia has been misleading us in recent weeks?”

After allowing Filatov to try and defend his country's actions, McCullagh interjected angrily: “Mr Ambassador, Ukrainians are being killed by your forces. How can they not be afraid?”

When Filatov said civilians were ‘not the target of this operation’, McCullagh continued: “There are documented cases, sir, of civilian targets being hit by Russian munitions.”

The presenter then asked why the Irish government should ‘entertain’ Filatov’s presence there when he is ‘acting as an apologist for slaughter’, the ambassador replied: “Well, it’s a good question. You might ask your government – it's up to them.”

While McCullagh confronted Filatov's claims throughout the interview, it was his parting quip that proved to be the real nail in the coffin – referring to his guest as ‘Ambassador Yuri Filatov, Ambassador of Russia to Ireland - for the moment at least’.

Many people have since taken to social media to commend McCullagh's approach, saying the interview was 'excellent' and that 'all reporters need to watch this'.

One person tweeted: "Excellent interview, totally fearless and absolutely riveting. Thank you David McCullagh."

Someone else said: "Journalists take note, a masterclass in how it's done. Relentless grilling by David McCullagh @mcculld at RTE."

A third wrote: "This is the best interview I have seen since Trump was interviewed by Jonathan Swan from Axios. David McCullagh was absolutely amazing, you could feel the anger radiating from him. And his last line, that was glorious! #Ukraine."

A fourth said McCullagh's questions were 'tough, pointed and brilliant', while another added: "That’s how you do an interview. David McCullagh was excellent."

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