Ukraine's international television channel Ukraine Today launches an English-language satellite broadcast on Sunday, the national Independence Day.
The world's first international TV news channel focusing on Ukraine and Eastern Europe belongs to Ukrainian billionaire Ihor Kolomoisky and his 1+1 Media group, which controls the country's channels 1+1, 2+2, TET, PlusPlus and Unian TV, as well as UNIAN news agency and Glavred and Telekritika Internet-portals.
A month ago, Russia's Investigative Committee accused Kolomoisky, also Dnipropetrovsk region governor, of sponsoring a number of Ukrainian security groups and thus committing crimes against civilians in his country. According to Forbes, Kolomoisky ranks Ukraine's fourth richest person with a net worth of $1.8 billion.
Ukraine Today will serve as Ukraine's answer to Russia's analogous channel RT (Russia Today), which broadcasts news primarily about Russia to foreign audiences in several languages. Ukrainian authorities accused RT of presenting skewed information on the events in the country, including the Maidan protests, the reunification of Crimea with Russia and the fighting in the southeastern regions.
UNIAN TV received the license for the new channel on August 14. Ukraine Today will air in English, with broadcasting in other languages, including Russian, expected to start shortly after.
The 24-hour channel with no commercials will be available in all of Ukraine, most of Europe and Russia, as well as online. Its priority audiences in Europe include the UK, Germany and France. Next year, its service may expand to Canada and the United States.
"Our potential viewers include those living in Russia, let alone the numerous Russian-speaking population abroad. By the way, many note the similarity in the name of the propaganda channel Russia Today and our Ukraine Today. I think the idea with the name is brilliant," said Tatiana Pushnova, chief producer of Ukraine Today.
"This will be a classic news channel with stories from around the world, including Ukraine," she said, adding that the channel will also focus on the news from the Baltics and Georgia, "Russia's close neighbors that did not have a channel talking about them until now."
Ukraine Today will have no anchors, and the 1+1 channel staff will create its content to make it similar to Euronews, Pushnova said.