WASHINGTON, D.C. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) President and CEO Jamie Fly visited Moldova and Ukraine for meetings with senior officials, civil society groups, and the company’s journalists. His trip reinforced RFE/RL’s commitment to counter Russian malign influence, and to support media freedom in both countries.
“I am in awe of the professionalism and resilience shown by our incredible journalists reporting every day on Ukraine’s struggle to defend its freedom,” said Fly. “RFE/RL is committed to continuing to expand our reporting on this war as we grow our audiences in Russia, Ukraine, and across the region.”
Fly visited Ukraine as RFE/RL’s Ukrainian Service, known locally as Radio Svoboda, launched a new hour-long weekday morning show “Svoboda.Ranok” on YouTube from a new bureau in Lviv. The show recaps the latest news from the frontlines overnight, while giving Ukrainian audiences hope as they begin their day. RFE/RL also launched a new reporting project, “How Are You?” to cover the stories of the approximately thirteen million forced migrants displaced by Russian aggression.
During a visit to Odesa, Kyiv, and Lviv, Fly met with senior government officials including Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine for Innovation, Education, Science, and Technology and Minister for Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov; Minister for Culture and Information Policy Oleksandr Tkachenko; First Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Emine Dzheppar; Advisor to the Chief of Staff of President Zelenskyy Daria Zarivna; Kyiv Mayor Vitaliy Klitschko; Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi; and members of parliament. Fly also met with representatives from other media outlets and civil society groups. In all discussions, Fly emphasized the importance of RFE/RL’s frontline reporting, its investigative work, and its ongoing role in creating a democratic culture with a vibrant free press. Fly also advocated for the release of imprisoned journalist Vladyslav Yesypenko, and thanked officials for their ongoing efforts to obtain his release.
As the Kremlin’s threats toward other countries in the region intensify, Fly also visited Chisinau, Moldova. In meetings with President Maia Sandu, Prime Minister Dorin Recean, and Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, Fly reiterated RFE/RL’s commitment through its Moldovan Service and Russian-language services to produce content relevant for all Moldovans, including those subjected to Kremlin propaganda.
Since the start of Russia’s full-scale war over one year ago, RFE/RL journalists have provided audiences with award-winning reporting from the frontlines on the human toll and Ukraine’s response to the brutality. Journalists with the Ukrainian Service have uncovered mass burials in Mariupol, documented the search for Russian sailors killed in the sinking of the Moskva cruiser, and reported extensively on “filtration” and life under occupation. This thorough coverage has driven historic traffic increases among audiences in Russia.
On April 28, 2022, RFE/RL journalist Vira Hyrych was killed in Kyiv after a Russian missile strike hit the residential building where she lived. Prior to the full-scale invasion, Radio Svoboda contributor Vladyslav Yesypenko was unjustly sentenced to a six-year prison term (later reduced to five years) on fraudulent charges in Russian-occupied Crimea. Fly and members of the international community have called for Yesypenko’s immediate release.
RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service, known locally as Radio Europa Libera, is reaching Romanian and Russian-speaking audiences with objective reporting in a country with widespread disinformation. Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Radio Europa Libera broke news about a bridge explosion at Moldova’s border, and later, errant missiles. The Service was also one of the first local outlets to report on refugees from Ukraine, and is covering Moldova’s ongoing economic hardship as a result of Russia’s war. Moldovan audiences also consume Russian-language reporting from RFE/RL’s Russian Service and 24/7 television and digital platform Current Time.
RFE/RL relies on its networks of local reporters to provide accurate news and information to more than 40 million people every week in 27 languages and 23 countries where media freedom is restricted, or where a professional press has not fully developed. Its videos were viewed 15 billion times on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram in 2022. RFE/RL is an editorially independent media company funded by a grant from the U.S. Congress through the U.S. Agency for Global Media.