CNN’s Evening Update on Ukraine and Russia

CNN’s evening update on Ukraine and Russia:

Is Putin now a prisoner of his own propaganda?

That’s what Julia Ioffe suggested in her recent column for Puck. She told me “the Russian propaganda machine has trained the Russian public to want blood, and now they want blood.” To put it another way: “Why would you only go halfway,” why pull back, “if we’re fighting Nazis?”

>> In the segment, we were joined by Ivan Kolpakov, the EIC of Meduza, which produces independent coverage for Russians. Kolpakov said Putin erred by believing his own “huge propaganda narrative about Ukraine as a failed state…”

>> We also talked about why Meduza is seeking donations from the West because sanctions have hobbled its ability to collect money from Russian readers. “This is information that is vital,” Ioffe said… “This stuff can’t be and shouldn’t be done for free. These people should be paid to do the excellent work that they’re doing…”

Bearing witness to the worst of humanity

Reporters from CNN and other news outlets were able to reach Bucha, a town on the outskirts of Kyiv, over the weekend. What they witnessed was horrific: Dead bodies in the streets, destroyed Russian vehicles, wrecked buildings, and a mass grave site behind a church. CNN’s Frederik Pleitgen and his team saw people at the site crying and looking for the bodies of lost loved ones. Pleitgen called into “Reliable Sources”with a wrenching recap of the scene.

>> NBC’s Ben Collins tweeted: “Predictably, the Russian government is going with the ‘don’t believe your lying eyes’ line on the Bucha massacre in Ukraine. This is Russia’s go-to propaganda line when they’ve done something visible and inexcusable: it was all staged by and for the Western media…”

 Two more members of the media reported killed

Renowned Ukrainian photojournalist Max Levin, a 40-year-old father of four who had gone missing weeks ago while covering the war, has been found dead. Levin had been working for the Ukrainian outlet and was a longtime contributor to Reuters. Reuters global managing editor for visuals John Pullman said the outlet was “deeply saddened” by the news and that his death “is a huge loss to the world of journalism.”

A Lithuanian documentary filmmaker, Mantas Kvedaravicius, has also been killed, reportedly while trying to leave Mariupol. Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda called him a “well-known creator who, until the last moment, despite the danger, worked in Ukraine.” The NYT has more about his life and legacy here…

Other news

— Another Ukrainian reporter has been reported missing. His name is Konstantin Ryzhenko. The Committee to Protect Journalists is repeating its call for Russia to “stop detaining members of the press for their work…” (CPJ)

— Over the weekend Pope Francis received a letter from the family of slain Fox News cameraman Pierre Zakrzewski… (Fox)

— In this new CNN Opinion piece, journalist Margo Gontar remembers Oleksandra Kuvshynova, who was killed alongside Zakrzewski… (CNN)

MSNBC anchor Ali Velshi, who has been in Ukraine for more than a week, used his platform over the weekend to call for the US to engage in “direct military involvement” in Ukraine… (Mediaite)

— Make sure to read Jill Doughtery‘s latest: Russians are “in the dark about true state of war amid country’s Orwellian media coverage…” (CNN)

Kidnapped Ukrainian journalist details torture he endured

By Oliver Darcy: A Ukrainian journalist is speaking out for the first time after he said he was kidnapped by Russian forces last month. Talking with The Observer, Oleh Baturin said he was thrown into a van and kidnapped when he left his home to meet a friend. Baturin said Russian forces held him captive for eight days. “During the first interrogations, my hangmen said they were looking for me and that they wanted revenge on me as a journalist, for my professional activities,” Baturin said. Baturin, who said he had four ribs broken, added, “They tortured me, threatened to mutilate me, threatened to kill me.” Read more from his harrowing account here

One anchor’s mission

Don Lemon visited with well-known Ukrainian anchor Marichka Padalko, who has been on the air since the start of the war. Padalko described how Ukrainian networks are working together to serve the public. She also conveyed how her life has been turned upside down: Her husband is on the front lines fighting and her children have been living with her parents. She said she feels motivated by a special mission: “As I was the person to announce that the war has started” on air, “I have to announce that it has ended,” she said. “So I’m waiting for this mission to happen in my life..” Watch the moving interview here…

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