As Ukrainians went to the polls on May 25, the networks of the Broadcasting Board of Governors provided comprehensive coverage before, during and after Election Day.
In the days leading up to the election, Voice of America’s Ukrainian Service aired a number of television interviews with experts, including Ambassadors John Herbst and Kurt Volker, Ukraine’s Representative to the UN Yuri Sergeyev, and US federal judge and Ukraine constitutional expert Bohdan Futey. These experts discussed Russian disinformation, election preparations and possible pathways out of the crisis in Ukraine. Two days before the election, VOA’s Ukrainian Service launched a daily five-minute TV program in Russian, called Studio Washington (Studiya Vashington), about U.S. and international responses to the crisis in Ukraine and U.S.-Ukrainian relations.
On Election Day, VOA’s Ukrainian Service covered every angle of the historic vote, from Ukraine and Washington, D.C. Key nationwide TV affiliates in Ukraine, 1+1 and ICTV, the Russian Business Channel and Georgia’s influential television IMEDI all turned to VOA Ukrainian Service reporters for comprehensive and timely coverage of U.S reaction on the presidential election in Ukraine, which included reporting and analysis on remarks by President Barack Obama, and congressional leaders such as Senators Senator Ben Cardin , Kelly Ayotte and Rob Portman and Representative Ed Royce.
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service hosted “Elections 2014”, a six-hour Internet TV marathon and 13 hours of constantly updated web coverage on Election Day. From studios in Kyiv and Moscow, the marathon included live reports from the Central Election Commission, the press centers of leading presidential candidates Petro Poroshenko and Yulia Tymoshenko, and correspondents in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Sumy, Cherkasy, Rivne, Lviv, and Kyiv. In addition to streamed LiveU feeds from Kharkiv and Skype interviews from Brussels, the Service also interviewed numerous in-studio guests and aired dozens of video reports from Ukraine, Great Britain, and the Czech Republic. Service correspondents also appeared frequently on election coverage aired by Espresso-TV, Kyiv-TV and the state-run BTB channel (which also used many of the Service’s video reports).
The coverage was rounded out with live blogs from RFE/RL’s Central Newsroom, Russian, Belarus, Azerbaijani, and Moldovan Services, and all Services provided their audiences with updates and reports about Ukraine’s elections.
The day after the vote, VOA Ukrainian’s TV program covered U.S. reaction with a report on Secretary of State John Kerry’s statement and on comments by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Ambassador Mark Green. The Service also provided the latest US reaction in a live interactive for 1+1 TV’s evening news broadcast.
RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service kept audiences up to date on post-election violence. Radio Svoboda secured video from Donetsk, where several non-combatant civilians were killed as a side effect of the anti-terrorist operation. One of these videos, of a woman killed outside of the railway station, has been viewed 9,800 times on YouTube.