United States Setting Up Broadcasting Operations in Ukraine
Contracts indicate planned presence in Ukraine through 2027.
As the war in Ukraine continues on, it looks as if the United States government is setting up new broadcast operations within the country. This comes after similar operations in neighboring Russia have been suspended.
On March 6, 2022, the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM), formerly the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), announced that Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) was suspending operations in Russia after being targeted by the Kremlin. They have vowed to continue broadcasting into Russia from outside the country, despite being banned.
A review of recent U.S. government contracts by Intrepid Research indicates planned broadcast operations from within Ukraine through 2027.
One contract with an effective start date of April 10, 2023 is described as “Initiation of a new lease contract between USAGM and OTT Ukraine LLC with broadcasting USAGM programs.” OTT Ukraine LLC is the company behind SWEET.TV, an established Ukrainian streaming platform. The end date for this contract is April 10, 2027.
Another contract running from March 18, 2022 to May 27, 2022 includes funding via the Department of State for office space to be used for “Radio and Television Broadcasting and Wireless Communication Equipment Manufacturing.”
U.S. government employment websites indicate opportunities for Ukraine-focused personnel across state-supported media outlets.
According to their website, Voice of America (VOA) has expanded its Ukrainian programming, since the Russian invasion in February. A map on their site shows that they have reporters and affiliates currently based inside Ukraine.
RFE/RL is currently advertising for multiple positions with its Ukrainian Service, based in Kiev, Ukraine.
The USAGM is also soliciting applicants for its Ukrainian Service. This positions will be based at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C.
These state-sponsored media outlets have long been considered the propaganda arm of the U.S. government, taking its American message all across the globe. The Pentagon has used them to conduct psychological operations. For years, their broadcasts were banned inside the United States for fears of the creation of domestically-targeted propaganda. President Obama signed legislation in 2013 to allow their transmission here at home.
However, the foreign mission of these broadcasts remain. They are one component of an international information war between nations. Russia has its own state-sponsored media that competes with VOA and RFE/RL. Whether or not the Russia-Ukraine war lasts for months or years, it appears the U.S. is setting up shop in Ukraine to use as an active base for its information war in the region for several years to come.