Comms volunteers counter Russian action in Ukraine

LONDON: A group of 10 communications professionals are helping the interim Ukrainian government put out the message that it is legitimate and to counter alleged Russian propaganda.

LONDON: A group of 10 communications professionals are helping the interim Ukrainian government put out the message that it is legitimate and to counter alleged Russian propaganda.

The group formalized its operations on Wednesday, calling itself the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. It launched a website and presences on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

The group consists of experienced communications professionals working on a voluntary basis, according to one member who spoke with PRWeek UK as she prepared to fly from London to join the operation in Kiev.

Marina Denysenko said she was Ukrainian, had lived in London for 15 years, and worked in PR for an events company in the UK.

Denysenko, who stressed she was not a formal spokeswoman for the group, said she wanted to help the government organize its messaging at a "crisis point" for her country.

Russia has been accused of flooding the Crimean peninsula in eastern Ukraine with unmarked troops amid fears it plans to exercise political control over the region, where it has military bases. Its state-owned TV station, Russia Today, has also been accused of spreading false reports and propaganda to scare the Russian segment of Ukraine's population.

The Media Center's key messages are that the interim Ukrainian government is legitimate and voted in by Parliament, including the party of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych. It is also stressing that the country is a victim of media aggression from its neighbor. Russian President Vladimir Putin does not accept the government.

It hosted a series of media briefings on Wednesday from its base in a hotel in Kiev's Independence Square, where most of the protests against Yanukovych and subsequent violence played out.

Speakers were set to include the head of the national security and defense council of Ukraine, Andriy Parubiy, and Petro Poroshenko, co-chair of the Ukraine-European Union Parliamentary Cooperation Committee.

This story originally appeared on the website of PRWeek UK.

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