“After the start of the full-scale invasion, the world clearly understood what Ukraine is,” Olha Rudenko, the editor-in-chief of Kyiv Independent

Aspen Institute Germany organized an international webinar “One year Russian War of Aggression on Ukraine” on Monday, 27. Participants focused on the coverage of Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine in foreign media. News and media agencies play a central role in shaping public opinion about the war; that’s why the discussion is crucial.

Journalists’ coverage of current events significantly reflects increased awareness about Ukraine.

Olha Rudenko, the editor-in-chief of Kyiv Independent and “Media and Reality: Dimensions of Responsibility”-2 seminar alumni, talked about the journalistsʼ (including those from foreign media) work in the conditions of Russian military aggression after the start of the full-scale invasion.

“Many foreign journalists currently working in Ukraine are doing an extraordinary job. Of course, mistakes can happen. However, it is not because someone among the journalists comes to Kyiv with the idea of ​​making a bad report. Mistakes happened because people were not knowledgeable enough about Ukraine. After all, our country began to sound loud only after the full-scale invasion, although the war in Ukraine has been going on for 9 years. After 2015, the war was discussed superficially and was not a topic in the global focus,” she said.

Fighting fake reality and realizing Ukraine’s subjectivity is crucial and what we need to focus on.

Olha Rudenko highlighted the main precautions to consider when covering current events in our country.

“There are two main mistakes – the world has had a habit of looking at Ukraine and the entire region through a Russian lens. This situation has existed for many years, even since the Soviet era. The world saw Russia – a powerful constant – and something incomprehensible around this region. The situation is changing, and we loudly announce ourselves to the world. However, another side to the mistakes can be called “false objectivity.” Access to information in this war is unequal – on the Ukrainian side, there is fairly wide access for journalists, and on the Russian side, there is only state propaganda. Furthermore, since the world’s media are used to covering both sides, they often report what they see with their own eyes in Ukraine, and “for balance” includes the so-called second side – quoting Russian propaganda. This creates a dangerous distortion, essentially equating proven facts and propaganda inventions.”

Olha Rudenko cited examples of fake referendums that took place in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. She drew attention to the fact that some foreign media reported on this event as a genuine vote.

“By doing so, Western media are essentially legitimizing these pseudo-referendums,” summarized the editor-in-chief of Kyiv Independent.

During the webinar, participants expressed their thoughts on how journalists should be objective in covering events related to such a sensitive topic as war. Also, they concluded that one should be extremely cautious in their statements and adhere to journalistic standards and ethics.

The Aspen Institute Kyiv continues its active dialogue between Ukrainian and foreign leaders. This is due to the need to inform the world’s leadership community about the objective situation in Ukraine and prevent the spread of Russian propaganda.