After watching the tragic events of the last few weeks unfold in Ukraine, being the news junkie that I am, I found myself wanting for more direct information about the situation. All of the articles and reports from major news outlets in the United States and EU nations seemed, for the most part, generic. So I decided to find news as close to the situation on the ground as possible; in the process I discovered the following sources which I found very useful. Some of the news stories in the West are taken directly from these sites.
Ukrainskaya Pravda (Ukrainian Truth)
A play on the old state-owned Soviet “Pravda” newspaper, Ukrainskaya Pravda is a privately owned online newspaper. It was founded in 2000 by the Ukrainian journalist and filmmaker Georgiy Gongadze who was kidnapped and murdered near Kyiv, allegedly on the orders of corrupt government officials who wanted him silenced five months after the paper’s founding.
The paper is available in Ukrainian and Russian. There is also an abbreviated English version containing a selection of articles translated into English. The Ukrainian/Russian language versions are updated frequently throughout the day with more detailed information about the situation in Ukraine. I keep the Russian language site open on my desktop and check the updates periodically throughout the day. English speakers who don’t read Russian or Ukrainian can view these pages in English by opening them in a Google Chrome web browser and using the translate feature by simply right clicking the page and selecting Translate to English from the drop down menu.
Ukrainian Ministry of Defense – Official Website
The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense hosts a website in both English and Ukrainian. Both sites are updated regularly throughout the day, however the Ukrainian language site has more information and seems to be updated more often. Some of the articles posted at the Ukrainskaya Pravda site are based on press releases from the Ministry of Defense. However there is information available at the site that may not be posted elsewhere.
Ukrainian State Security Service – Official YouTube Channel
This is a unique and very interesting source of information – especially to an old cryptolinguist like me. Ukrainian State Security posts regular war updates on their YouTube channel. The site is all Ukrainian language but can be translated if you use Google Chrome as your web browser (same process described above).
If you are not aware, cell phone calls are very easy to intercept. The Ukrainians have been listening in on conversations between Russian soldiers in Ukraine and their loved ones (usually mom, wife, or girlfriend) back home in Russian Federation territory. They have posted many of these audio clips, along with other videos about the war, on YouTube. Some of the audio clips include English transcipts. While most of the audio posted is not translated to English, there is a brief description beneath each video. You can open the Google Translate app, set it to detect language and translate to English, then copy and paste the description into the app. This will enable you to read the description in English.
For any former Russian linguists out there (MOS 98G or AFSC 1N3), you may find this site brings back some memories. I sat and listened for over an hour one afternoon. The conversations are sad and telling. Of course the Ukrainians are posting audio of phone calls that ridicule, incriminate, or expose Russian weakness. However by the sound of things many of the Russian servicemen involved in the Kremlin’s “special operation” had no clue what was waiting for them once they crossed into Ukrainian territory.