As governments around the world are scrambling to respond to the crisis in Ukraine, the networks of the Broadcasting Board of Governors are providing Ukrainians and Russians with extensive coverage of multilateral discussions and conversations with world leaders.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty this week conducted interviews with high-level Ukrainian officials and political figures, including with Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s former Prime Minister and current candidate for President, who told Radio Svoboda that she supports an immediate announcement of a state of emergency in Ukraine’s east; with Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andriy Deshchytsia, who revealed that the Security Service has collected data on the financial support given by Viktor Yanukovych’s family members to separatist terrorists in eastern Ukraine; and with Viktor Baloha, Ukrainian MP, former Minister of Emergencies of Ukraine, and former Head of the Secretariat of the President of Ukraine, about the possible compromise with the eastern Ukraine.
Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service provided a broad array of international reaction, with complete coverage of the four-way Geneva talks between Ukraine, the U.S., the European Union and Russia, in which a truce was reached and then called off. The Service also aired television interviews with U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt and the governor of Donetsk, Serhiy Taruta, for their perspective on the actions of separatists. Ambassador Pyatt also appeared in the VOA Russian Service’s live social media-driven show Podelis via Skype from Kyiv. Commenting on the actions of the militants who have seized government buildings in the country’s east, Ambassador Pyatt said, “It certainly looks like terrorism to me,” adding that the goal of their campaign is “an intention to cause mass disorder, to keep the government in Kyiv off-balance.”
Both networks’ Russian Services are engaging audiences and providing in-depth news and analysis. Since Russia annexed Crimea, RFE/RL’s Russian Service has used Skype to conduct 45 live video bridges between Moscow and various cities in Ukraine to support and reestablish contacts between Russians and Ukrainians. Participants in these video bridges include students, political analysts, journalists, and cultural figures.
And as audiences in both Russia and Ukraine seek out the truth, RFE/RL and VOA are providing coverage not found anywhere else. RFE/RL’s series “Lies of the Day” exposes the distortions in Russian media and is available in both Ukrainian and Russian. And VOA’s Russian Service spoke with the “March of Truth” organizer Georgy Satarov and several participants in the mid-April protest, which was held under the slogans “For a truthful and independent mass media,” ”For the right of information, ” and ”For an open-minded community without xenophobia.”