Ukrainian authorities and security services are terrified by a new grave threat to the Ukrainian national security: a Russia-Ukraine TV link-up announced by Ukraine’s NewsOne TV channel and Russia’s Russia-24 TV channel.
And this is not a joke.
Earlier this week. NewsOne TV announced that it’s planning to host a TV link-up [“Need to Talk”] between Ukrainians and Russians to discuss the current situation and ‘non-political questions’ by ordinary people. This idea caused an outrage among the current Ukrainian political establishment and government-linked media organizations and activists.
Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) of Ukraine Oleksandr Danyliuk reacted to the move by calling it a provocation and stressed that the government is ready to react. He also adviced his counterparts to not panicing over this.
“As a strong country, we must react confidently, without unnecessary emotions and panic. Because that’s exactly what they expect. The number of such provocations will only be growing. We need to keep a cool head. We are working on solutions,” Danyliuk said.
Ivan Bakanov, acting head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to convene an extraordinary meeting of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) in connection with NewsOne’s intention to hold a teleconference with the Russia channel.
“The Security Service of Ukraine sent to the heads of the media holding “Novosti” (112. Ukraine, NewsOne and ZIK TV channels) a message about responsibility for holding joint events with the TV channel “Russia” and other broadcasters of the aggressor state that are under sanctions of the National Security and Defense Council,” Bakanov said, according to the SBU press service.
The statement added that Bakanov considers “absolutely unacceptable the organization by NewsOne TV channel of the television bridge with the main propaganda channel of the aggressor country, which is under sanctions.”
President Zelensky camed with an emergency statement on the matter. In the video adress, Zelensky called it “dangerous” PR trick ahead of the snap elections to the Parliament. He added that TV link-ups between Ukrainian and Russian TV channels “during the war” are unacceptable.
The fun fact is that Mr Zelensky just repeated Poroshenko-style justifications under which the previous regime was censoring any independent points of views and opressing the opposition to military actions in the region of Donbass. Despite this, nor Poroshenko nor Zelensky have declared a real war on the “aggressor” – Russia.
Additionally, Zelensky called for negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but said that US President Donald Trump should be involved also. Earlier, pro-Kiev officials complained that the US had lost interests to the Ukrainian affairs and decreased the number of contacts with the regime in power.
Russia said it would consider Zelenskiy’s offer.
“We need to understand whether there is a prospect for such a meeting, we need to understand what kind of new format is being proposed,” the TASS news agency quoted Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying.
“This is a new initiative. Of course, it will be considered, but so far I cannot give any reaction.”
Under the government pressure and multiple threats from government-backed ‘civic activists’, NewsOne announced that it will not participate in the TV link-up. The channel is reportedly linked with Ukrainian opposition politician Viktor Medvedchuk. The Poroshenko bloc often blaimed him for allegedly having so-called pro-Russian views because of Medvedchuk’s peaceful initiatives. The Zelensky team is now employing a same strategy.
The Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine even opened a case of suspect of the “treason” over the canceled TV link-up. It reportedly made a call in for questioning of the TV channel’s owner.
The freedom of speech and democracy seem to be the key values in Ukraine.
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