Zelensky Combines Ukraine TV Stations Into One Channel Over 'Misinformation'

Zelensky Combines Ukraine TV Stations Into One Channel Over 'Misinformation'
In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky speaks from Kyiv, Ukraine, early on March 20, 2022. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)
Jack Phillips

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced that his government will combine all state TV channels into one amid the Russian invasion.

Zelensky said the move entails “combining all national TV channels, the program content of which consists mainly of information and/or information-analytical programs, [into] a single information platform of strategic communication” to be called "United News," according to a press release issued on Sunday.

The move was announced to fight against alleged "active dissemination of misinformation by" Russia and its "distortion of information ... as well as justifying or denying the armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine," according to the release.

It's not clear if the order, which went into effect on March 19, will impact private Ukrainian TV channels.

Earlier in the conflict, Russia shut down certain independent media outlets in Russia and also banned certain foreign broadcasters from operating there. Moscow also banned Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and several other social media websites. A Russian court on Monday declared Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, guilty of fostering extremist activity.

On Sunday, Ukrainian officials said they would ban 11 opposition political parties for having alleged ties to Russia.
“Any activity of politicians aimed at splitting or collaborating will not succeed,” Zelensky said in announcing the move on social media. "Wartime exposes quite well the paucity of personal ambitions of those who try to put their own ambitions” or “their own party or career above the interests of the state,” he added, according to a translation.

Zelensky also told CNN in an interview he’s ready to enter negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin as the conflict enters its fourth week.

“I’m ready for negotiations with him. I was ready for the last two years. And I think that without negotiations we cannot end this war,” he said. “I think that we have to use any format, any chance in order to have a possibility of negotiating, [a] possibility of talking to Putin. But if these attempts fail, that would mean that this is a third World War.”

In the capital, Kyiv, a shopping center in the densely populated Podil district near the city center was a smoking ruin after being hit late Sunday by shelling that killed eight people, according to emergency officials.

The attack shattered every window in a neighboring high-rise. Russian military spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov charged that Ukrainian forces had been using the shopping mall to store rockets and reload launchers. That claim could not be independently verified.

Amid the continuing shelling, Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko announced a curfew extending from Monday evening through Wednesday morning.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.