September 22, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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Russia forcibly controls Ukrainian TV channels: 'I had to read messages at gunpoint' |  Ukraine and Russia war

Russia forcibly controls Ukrainian TV channels: ‘I had to read messages at gunpoint’ | Ukraine and Russia war

Russia is replacing Ukrainian TV channels with pro-Kremlin media. They do this by conquering cell towers and cutting off access to national Ukrainian news programmes. Instead, pro-Russian broadcast signals are broadcast. Meanwhile, eight local canals have already been captured in southern Ukraine. These are now used to convince locals of the Russian position.

The Ukrainian Special Communications Service told the BBC that “Russian forces control all TV channels in the occupied territories to broadcast propaganda and disinformation.” Unless they have a satellite dish, civilians in the now occupied cities can only access 24 Russian state television channels and those broadcasting from the self-proclaimed republics of eastern Ukraine.

Journalist Serhiy Starscu and his colleagues had just finished their morning meeting when Russian military vehicles stopped outside. Within minutes, soldiers stormed the front doors of a local news station in the occupied Ukrainian city of Berdyansk. About 50 employees were held hostage for five hours. They have fallen victim to the real battle to control the flow of information.


Serhiy Starsko, the news anchor, was forced at gunpoint to lie in front of the camera and declare a declaration of war on the so-called “Ukrainian nationalists”. The Russians said they would publish this forced statement online if he refused to cooperate.

For him and his colleagues, “cooperation” meant asking them to reveal the connections of local pro-Ukrainian activists and soldiers and broadcast pro-Russian propaganda.

This was the last Ukrainian broadcaster working in Berdyansk. Another television company was also shut down and national radio broadcasts were cut off. Before the invasion, residents of the area were able to watch dozens of national Ukrainian channels and a few local ones, but they have since been blocked.

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According to pro-Russian channels, life in the newly occupied city of Berdyansk is “peaceful”. There is no talk of war. Journalists claim that “life in the region has improved with the arrival of Russian troops”, and that these regions have “real prospects for a way out of the crisis created by the Ukrainian authorities.”

“Fortunately, people here will not blindly believe the Russian media,” journalist Mikhailo Kumuk told the BBC. First of all, they will ask themselves, ‘Has my life improved or worse since the invasion of Russian forces? And life here has definitely gotten worse, for almost everyone.”

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