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UK intel: Russia steps up propaganda on territory of occupied Donetsk Oblast

To intensify propaganda efforts targeting the residents of Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast, the Russian occupation authorities have initiated broadcasts from one of Russia’s largest TV and radio broadcasting organizations, UK intel said.
Credit: Reuters/Ilya Naymushin
UK intel: Russia steps up propaganda on territory of occupied Donetsk Oblast

Residents of the Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast now receive Russian-language local news from one of the largest Russian TV and radio broadcasting organizations, British intelligence said in its daily report.

On 4 September, the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) opened a Donetsk franchise and commenced broadcasting in the occupied territory of Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast.

Russia’s Rossiya 1TV Channel provides local news bulletins and presents the Russian view of the war. This is part of Russia’s effort to assert enduring control of the area, UK intel said.

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Ukraine-based Russian language television and radio stations were freely available in the now-annexed areas before 2014. After the invasion, pan-Ukraine providers continued to provide locally sourced Russian-language content.

Broadcasters controlled by the Russian occupation authorities rebroadcast Russian national news programs as part of the propaganda campaign but did not provide regional bulletins.

According to British intelligence, Broadcasting VGTRK in Donetsk has taken over a year to achieve, first being announced in 2022. This was almost certainly due to the refusal to work with trained local technicians.

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“Those sympathetic to the DNR (“Donetsk People’s Republic”) and with the required skills have now likely been brought in from Crimea, Luhansk and elsewhere,” UK intel stated

Despite the broadcast blocking, Ukrainian broadcasting is still available to a wide audience via the Internet. Where Russian filtering restrictions are in place, audiences use VPNs or other active circumvention technologies. Cell phones connected to Ukrainian providers are very likely to be unrestricted.

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