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If you’ve been following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine from the U.S. or Europe, there’s a high chance you’ve been glued to Twitter for the latest breaking news and updates reported as they happen.

The thing is though, here in Ukraine it’s all about Telegram. Even before 2022, 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 full-scale invasion effectively threw that media spectrum into overdrive, making the the war on Ukraine – 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.

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This poses a problem for those watching abroad – how to know who to follow and what to do if you don’t speak Ukrainian?

After more than 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 will likely be providing some of the fastest and most informative developments about Ukraine's long-awaited counteroffensive.

And if you don’t speak Ukrainian or Russian, don’t worry – Telegram’s translate function (just press and hold on a post and select it from the menu) is generally excellent.

ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 24, 2024
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ISW Russian Offensive Campaign Assessment, July 24, 2024

Latest from the Institute for the Study of War.

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.

Individual unit channels:

1) 3rd Separate Assault Brigade

Telegram channel

Third Separate Assault Brigade is a regular army Ukrainian assault brigade and formerly a Territorial Defense Battalion raised in and around Kyiv.

The unit has fought successfully in practically every major battle of the war, including the Kharkiv offensive, the Kherson offensive and in Bakhmut.

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Third Assault’s drone and media sections are among the Ukrainian military’s most efficient, and combat footage and frontline information on the unit’s Telegram channel is second to none.

Third Assault is considered particularly skilled at attacking and clearing fortifications.

2) 36th Separate Marine Infantry Brigade

Most of this unit was destroyed in the Siege of Mariupol from March-May 2022. The military high command has reconstituted the unit, rearmed it with tanks and armored personnel carriers, and for months the 36th held positions in the central Donbas sector.

They have recently been pulled off the line and are training intensely, judging by the unit Telegram channel, primarily in assault tactics.

They are the Ukrainian army’s premier conventional amphibious warfare formation. In recent months the Ukrainian high command announced the expansion of the Ukrainian “Marine Corps”, and plans to field three more Marine brigades.

3) 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade

Telegram channel

The 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade is a recently raised regular army unit and according to the DiscordLeaks report, the only Ukrainian army formation equipped with the top-of-the-line US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicle.

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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, and recent material published by the unit has shown it intensively training for offensive operations.

The powerful Bradley armored vehicles make the 47th a very likely spearhead formation in any major attack.

Ukrainian civilian channels:

4) Butusov Plyus

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.

5) Pravda Gerashchenko

Anton Herashchenko is an advisor to Ukraine’s Interior Minister but, since the start of the war, has been one of the most prolific and fastest sources of war-related and general information.

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Official Ukrainian channels:

6) 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, a relatively high-profile public official, to publish frequent and often entertaining YouTube videos about events.

If the Ukrainian army kicks off major attacks in the Kherson sector, Kim almost certainly will be quick to advise locals on the situation, within security limits.

7) Stratkom ZSU

This is a Ukrainian military channel publishing media reports approved by the army high command, including field reporting by army combat correspondents. When the Ukrainian military decides to make publish particularly visual evidence of something, the content very likely will appear on this channel early.

8) Operativniy ZSU

This is an official Ukrainian military channel generally considered to be the primary location at which the Army General Staff publishes content.

Russian channels:

10) Astra

This is an independent journalist-run Telegram channel focusing on delivering accurate information on the situation in Russia, and on events affecting Russians. Unsurprisingly, the Kremlin considers the channel’s operators traitors and enemies of the state. However, the Astra team has for more than a year delivered fast-paced and reasonably verified accurate reports on Russian army military developments.

An additional useful aspect of the Astra platform is that, since its content is essentially conventional news out of Russia without over bias, the gap between an Astra report and an official Kremlin narrative is almost always an excellent measure of how much the Russian state official narrative differs from probable reality, on any given subject.

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Additional disclaimer – The following accounts are pro-Russian and their information should be treated accordingly. They can, however, provide useful context and sometimes post information on the state of Russian forces that official Kremlin sources would never report.

11) Starshe Eddy  

This is a channel run by Russian war correspondent Roman Kulikovsky. The platform offers one of the most thorough daily situation estimates available on open sources on either side, and Kulikovsky – although adamantly anti-Ukrainian - regularly reports failures and weaknesses in the Russian military.

Detail is substantial and aimed at readers familiar with military tactics and weaponry. Reports of Russian tactical defeats or loss of territory are likely first to surface here.

12) WarGonzo

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. Pegov positions himself as a frontline reporter and 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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His Telegram channel, though biased, often is an accurate window into tactics and equipment used by Russian soldiers, and also, how those soldiers view the war’s progress.

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