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A facet of Ukraine’s national resilience – not particularly well known abroad, but so commonplace locally that the Ukrainians barely notice it themselves – is the depth and breadth of the national media space. Ukrainian journalism, content creation and blogging aren’t just alive and well, they’re going gangbusters.
Even before the Russian invasion, the only practical way for Ukrainian news professionals and informed citizens to even attempt to keep up with the information flood was to subscribe to hundreds of Telegram channels and, over months and years, winnow out the ones delivering the most useful news the fastest.
Russia’s February 2022 invasion effectively threw that media spectrum into overdrive, making the Russo-Ukrainian War – at least for a person monitoring the right platforms and able to read Ukrainian and Russian – without doubt the best-documented conflict in human history.
After a year of coverage, Kyiv Post’s reporters have clicked on an array of Telegram channels. Here are some that have, for one reason or another, stood the test of time.
And if you don’t speak Russian or Ukrainian, don’t worry – Telegram’s translate function (just press and hold on a post and select it from the menu) is generally excellent.
Disclaimer – Not all of these accounts are official media or personalities, and the information they post should be treated with a degree of skepticism until confirmed by multiple reliable sources. Additionally, some of it is extremely graphic.
3-tya Okrema Shturmova Brihada
A regular army Ukrainian assault brigade formerly a Territorial Defense Battalion raised in and around Kyiv at the start of the war, with a good proportion of volunteers from the Azov political organization, runs this channel. Third Separate Assault Brigade operates one of the most efficient and thorough information operations in the entire Ukrainian army, and combat footage available on this channel is often unique, and second to none in quality.
47 OMBr “Mahura”
The 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade is a recently raised regular army unit and heavily equipped with NATO-standard weapons. Their Telegram platform is a good baseline for information about the progress of a Ukrainian fighting unit as it makes the shift to Western training, equipment and tactics.
Gruz 200 and Ishchi Svoikh
These platforms appeared in the early days of the war, they said, to help Russian families find sons, husbands, brothers or fathers serving in the Russian military and missing in the war. It’s not fully clear how they’re getting all the information they publish, but much of it is culled from Ukraine fighting units: Russian soldiers taken prisoner, confirmed hit in combat, or listed as dead in action. Warning: Some of the content is gory.
WarLife 18+ Rossiya Ukraina Voina 18+
This collation platform appears to seek out the most violent and shocking war footage, from all sources. However, the channel is fast and thorough, and so a good source for confirming fighting reported elsewhere.
Well-informed Ukrainian civilians:
Yury Butusov, arguably Ukraine’s leading combat correspondent and an excellent war reporter, runs this platform with the help of assistants. He has a long record of reporting the situation from the ground at locations most journalists fear to travel, and not pulling punches when army leadership could do better which, according to him, is often. He also publishes video question-and-answer sessions in which he comments on war-related themes, usually with the authority of a reporter that has been on the ground recently. His contacts with 92nd Mechanized Infantry Brigade, one of the Ukrainian army’s standout formations, are particularly close.
Anatoly Herashchenko is an advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Minister but, since the start of the war, has been one of the most prolific and quickest sources of war-related and general information. Often, his sources seem to come directly from the Interior Ministry.
Andriy Tsaplienko is another Ukrainian journalist with a deep background of covering the Russian invasion since 2014. His Telegram platform and its content is very fast and wide-reaching. Less outspoken, and so more neutral than Butusov, Tsaplienko reports from the front intermittently, but the main focus of his feed is all-source information in a single place.
General news and Ukrainian news aggregators
This is a collation platform with excellent overall coverage and little original reporting, but it offers the extremely useful function of clear and functional links to the source of the information.
UNIAN News Agency
This is an old school Ukrainian news agency offering conventional news wire reporting on Ukraine. They probably have more people on the ground collecting information and passing it on than any other organization outside government intelligence. Fast, reliable and an excellent benchmark source for the day’s breaking news on Ukraine.
Official Ukrainian platforms
Vitaly Kim and the Mykolaiv Regional Defense Command
This is the official channel of the Mykolaiv Regional Defense Command and so a good source of government information on developments in the region. It also is a platform for the governor, Vitaly Kim, to publish frequent and often entertaining YouTube videos about events.
Joint Defense Command West
This is the official channel of the Ukraine army’s joint command west. This is normally a quiet source. However, were Russian activities in Belarus to intensify and were Russian troops to approach the Ukrainian border, this would be a first-look location for official information about those developments.
Main Directorate of Intelligence for the Defense Ministry of Ukraine
This is the official channel of Ukraine’s national military intelligence agency. Its messages and their content are a good benchmark for the official Ukrainian government view of Russian plans, intentions and capacities. The platform also frequently publishes intelligence obtained from Russian soldiers, sometimes via telephone intercepts and sometimes from prisoners of war.
This channel has close links with “state”-controlled media in Donetsk city and sends reporters near and to the front line from time to time. Views are virulently anti-Ukrainian, but at times the platform offers images and reporting of Ukrainian army strikes, as well as military activities from both sides, not available elsewhere. Editors publish a front overview daily which is more detailed and less propaganda-bombast than conventional Russian state media or government statements.
This is a channel run by Russian war correspondent Roman Kulikovsky. The platform offers one of the most thorough – although not always accurate – daily situation estimates available on open sources on either side. Detail is substantial and aimed at readers familiar with military tactics and weaponry. Although adamantly pro-Russia since the start of the war, the platform is traditionally one of the first to concede Russian army problems and failures.
A personal channel run by veteran Russian war correspondent Simon Pegov, it is vociferously pro-Russian military and anti-Ukrainian, though frequently critical of Russian army high command. He likes to present Russian soldiers as heroes and liberators. Pegov was wounded by shell splinters late last year, which led, among other outcomes, to a meeting with Vladimir Putin and a medal.
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