Amid an increasingly dangerous environment for reporters in Ukraine, the networks of the BBG are resolute in their efforts to provide much-needed news and information to audiences in the region.
On May 1, a Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty video crew was attacked when they trained their camera on activists burning Ukrainian flags during a demonstration in Kharkiv. The journalists were hit in the head and back, but were able to escape without serious injuries. Recently there have been a slew of threats to press covering events in the region, including detainment, harassment and beatings.
Despite the risks, journalists from RFE/RL and Voice of America continue to provide uncompromising coverage of the latest developments in Ukraine and the region, and audiences are responding.
In addition to the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service’s popular Live Blog, Radio Svoboda has been broadcasting live from Kharkiv, and has aired several key events including the “Ukraine-Russia: Dialogue” conference in Kyiv and the Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague.
The network is providing continuous coverage of the latest attacks from the separatist movement in the east, including the attempted assassination of Kharkiv’s mayor, the seizure of the Donetsk TV Center and the threats by a self-proclaimed mayor to shoot on the spot anyone found with pro-government leaflets.
Both networks extensively covered visits last week by key American political leaders. VOA Ukrainian provided high-profile coverage of the visit to Ukraine of Vice President Joe Biden, and Radio Svoboda posted streaming video of his speech to Ukrainian civil society. The networks covered the congressional delegation headed by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce and Ranking Member Eliot Engel, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Ranking Member Bob Corker’s comments in Kyiv commending the Ukrainian government for its restraint and calling for additional sanctions against Russia. In addition, RFE/RL interviewed Chairman Royce and Senator Corker during their visits to Kyiv.
VOA Ukrainian also reported on President Obama’s comments about Russia not fulfilling the Geneva agreement on deescalating tensions in Ukraine and possible additional sanctions, statements by Secretary Kerry reinforcing that position, and the impact of Mr. Obama’s April 25 phone call with European leaders Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, David Cameron and Matteo Renzi.
The Service also interviewed Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Danylo Lyubkivsky, in which he expressed gratitude for support from the United States, and former Ambassador James Jeffrey on his proposals for increased U.S. support for Ukraine’s security and defense.
And as the threat of Russian expansion looms in the region, RFE/RL spoke exclusively with Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili and Moldovan President Nicolae Timofti about their own security concerns and the potential for dialogue with Moscow.