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Kremlin’s TV network to broadcast in occupied Donetsk region

Residents of the Russian-controlled area of Ukraine’s Donetsk region are now receiving Russian-language local news bulletins from one of Russia’s major broadcast organisations.
The relevant statement was made by the Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom on the social media platform X, referring to the latest Defence Intelligence update, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.

On September 4, 2023, the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) opened a Donetsk franchise and commenced broadcasting in the internationally unrecognised Donetsk People’s Republic (the so-called ‘DPR’).

Local news bulletins are provided by Russia’s Rossiya 1TV Channel and present the Russian view of the war. This is part of Russia’s broader effort to assert enduring control of the area, the UK intelligence noted.

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

‘DPR’-government-controlled and aligned broadcasters also rebroadcast Russian national news programming as part of a propaganda campaign but did not provide regional bulletins.

Broadcasting VGTRK in Donetsk has taken over a year to achieve, having first been announced in 2022. According to the UK intelligence, this was almost certainly due to the refusal to work of trained local technicians.

Those sympathetic to the so-called ‘DPR’ and with the required skills have now likely been brought in from Crimea, Luhansk and elsewhere.

Although blocked over the airwaves, Ukrainian broadcasting is still accessible to a wide audience via the internet. Where Russian filtering restrictions are in force, audiences use VPN or other active circumvention technologies. Mobile phones linked to Ukrainian providers are highly likely unfettered, the UK Ministry of Defence concluded. Ukrinform

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