Sources of information on the war in Ukraine
Many people are keeping abreast of what’s happening in Ukraine, but are often a little bewildered by contradictory information and forecasts, without being able to assess their veracity or origin. Here’s a short guide to the information you’ll need. The different sources of information There are four main sources of information: It’s worth noting that […]
Many people are keeping abreast of what’s happening in Ukraine, but are often a little bewildered by contradictory information and forecasts, without being able to assess their veracity or origin.
Here’s a short guide to the information you’ll need.
The different sources of information
There are four main sources of information:
- Press agencies
- Official media: newspapers, television, radio
- Social networking
- Specialized websites.
It’s worth noting that there are only three Western news agencies that supply all the official media, which is why you find the same news everywhere. The information that differs comes from special envoys sent to the scene of the conflict by newspapers and television channels with the means to do so.
Knowing the distortions of communication, the more intermediaries there are between the source and us, the more distorted the information becomes. No information is complete and unbiased, but the closer you can get to the source, the better. That’s what guides us here, as you discover the networks that give you direct access to the field.
News agencies are close to the source and provide excellent information. Unfortunately, the information available free of charge on their sites is limited, and this is to be expected, as the major media have paid subscriptions that give them access to everything. This information is as neutral as possible, so as to be acceptable to their various clients, which include newspapers and television stations with different political leanings. However, these news agencies are not totally neutral: just compare their publications with each other or with the Russian agency Tass.
The big mainstream media are the ones you know, the TV you watch, the radio you listen to, the newspapers you read every day.
Of course, since you follow them, you surely find them honest and impartial, but that’s impossible – there’s no such thing as neutrality in information. As soon as you compare several media, you realize that they don’t say the same thing. Each newspaper has its own political color, its own readers, chooses the information it receives from news agencies, highlights certain news items rather than others, and dresses up and contextualizes this information to satisfy its audience. With the same sources, news agencies, newspapers, TV or radio will say different things. Paradoxically, it’s often the small provincial newspapers that provide the best international news, as they simply copy the news from the press agency in raw form, which is immediately obvious, as there is little “dressing up” of the information.
First of all, there are two types of social networks, those that are censored like Facebook, which are of no interest for getting information, and then there are those that are free like Telegram which are mines of raw information, you can find the information at its source, on the ground, before anyone else. It’s biased depending on the origin, but as you know, you can access information posted live by soldiers, not by reporters who send their summary to the news agency, which formats it and sends it to newspapers and TV, which transform it once again.
The commentary of the soldier concerned is also more pertinent than that of the reporters who try to understand what’s going on, sometimes while staying in their hotel. It’s also up to you to “read” what’s going on in the field to see if the commentary is in line with what we’re seeing, which isn’t always the case! You can compare what the enemy side is showing and try to determine which is more realistic.
You’ll never see some of these images in the mainstream media, they’re too brutal, and don’t you dare put them on censored social networks like Facebook or Twitter either, you’ll be banned immediately.
These sources will give you more accurate information, but also ahead of what the general public will know, sometimes 24 hours, a week, sometimes they’ll never know.
Specialized sites provide information with analysis, the orientation of which depends on the source. Basically, there are Russian sites, Ukrainian sites, Western sites and open source sites.
Ideally, sources should be used in a complementary way:
- The mainstream media present you with the most important information, since the news agencies sift it through a first sieve, and the media sift it through a second sieve according to their political color. These media have the advantage of doing the work of selecting the news that’s important to you; they may be wrong, but it helps.
- Social networks give you access to information at source, but you can’t follow everything, which is why it’s important to use the mainstream media.
- Specialized websites can provide you with analyses that you can’t find elsewhere, so that you can delve deeper into certain areas of research or get the Ukrainian or Russian point of view.
News agencies to follow
- Western news agencies
- Agence France Presse : French agency, very little interesting information on the general public website if you’re not a subscriber, but the first prices are affordable and start at just 300 euros.
- Associated Press : American agency offering a few in-depth articles on current affairs, but unable to follow the conflict.
- Reuters: British agency, the one that offers the most information to the public, the only one I keep in my favorites.
- Russian Press Agency
- Tass Agency, the iconic Russian agency of the Cold War, provides comprehensive coverage and offers the Russian point of view on current affairs. It’s well worth a visit.
It’s worth noting the exemplary work of the war reporters and photographers who risk their lives to report what’s happening at the front.
- Journaux occidentaux : il y en a énormément, vous devez avoir vos préférés, je ne vais donc en proposer que quelques-uns.
- Russian newspapers
- RT (Russia today): Russian newspaper in French, presenting the Russian position on foreign policy issues, with press releases from Lavrov and the Russian army. It’s a must-have.
- Pravda in English is also an iconic Cold War newspaper, the Kremlin’s mouthpiece. If you only want to read one Russian medium, you have to choose it.
- BFM TV : this is the live French channel that covers the conflict best, Cnews is better for French political debates, but doesn’t cover Ukraine as well. BFM invites the military, a former KGB spy, Sergei Zhirnoz, who knew Putin, and other Russian specialists to explain the maps and images, which is very interesting.
- ABC News : an American channel that you can watch continuously in just about every country.
- Facebook Watch : offers short Western videos on the conflict when you type in the search keyword: Ukraine.
- Operation Denazification and Demilitarization : this is the best Russian page on Facebook, featuring Russian videos, images and views. The page is alive with comments from Africans who are 100% pro-Russian and very anti-French, hating Westerners. Very difficult, if not impossible, to discuss with them though, they only see and know the Russian point of view, don’t believe anything they hear from the Western media and see conspiracies everywhere. Paradoxically, it’s easier to talk to Russians who defend their point of view brutally, but who are better informed.
- Air Force command of UA armed forces : Ukrainian army page, not a great deal of information, Russian losses are posted every day, but these figures may be higher than the reality.
- X : la majorité des pages sont pro Ukrainiennes, la censure empêche les images violentes donc la majorité des vidéos en provenance du terrain.
- NEXTA : page d’origine biélorusse, mais pro ukrainienne qui offre des informations générales sur le conflitOSINT : sont plusieurs pages de source ouverte portant sur les armes et les conflits, c’est une des meilleures sources d’information sur le conflit grâce à leur diversité, aux analyses, aux commentaires.OSINT Defender : page très complète sur le conflit, une des meilleures.
- OSINT Technical : page focusing on weapons and technical aspects.
- Rob Lee: this seems to be an American military man, the best page of an individual on this conflict, impressive to see how much information he collects.
- War Monitor: Ukrainian source, probably the best on Twitter.
- Russia on fire: lists all the fires of unknown origin in Russia, which occur every few days or so. Very impressive.
- Ukraine War Maps : allow you to follow the maps day by day, and therefore ahead of the major media.
- Russian officers killed in Ukraine: lists the many Russian officers killed. It’s sad to see their photos before they die, showing the waste of this war without which they would still be alive.
- Telegram : c’est le réseau le moins censuré, celui qui vous rapproche le plus près du terrain, qui a le moins de filtres avec ses avantages et ses inconvénients, c’est le pouls du terrain que vous ne verrez pas ailleurs, mais le terrain c’est aussi les atrocités de la guerre. Les grands médias diffusent surtout les populations civiles et les destructions, les soldats montrent les blessés et les morts chez l’adversaire.
- Info war mondial : page en Français d’obédience russeRybar: le canal russe le plus objectif mais qui diffuse l’information avec 12h ou 24h de retard ce qui en diminue l’intérêt.Russie et…Zov: ma page préférée en Francais, très intéressante car l’administrateur a un copain, Bachir, soldat russe sur le terrain, qui rapporte directement photos et vidéos de son “travail” comme il dit. Cela permet d’avoir la sensation du terrain. Vous pouvez même arriver à chatter avec Bachir sur le terrain, quand il n’est pas en action. Cela donne une autre perspective que celle des articles mainstream qui font dans le sensationnalisme, d’un bord comme de l’autre, et ni n’ont aucun lien avec la réalité. Opération spéciale de dénazification et de démilitarisation : page pro russe en Français, la même que celle sur Facebook, mais plus complète, car non censurée.ASB military news : page russe en anglais. Vous pouvez discuter avec ceux qui commentent, attention, ils sont très pros russes et si vous les critiquez vous risquez de vous faire bannir du site.Pravda from Russia : page Telegram du fameux journal russe en anglais. Cette page accepte la critique.Intel Slava Z : un des meilleurs canaux russes sur TelegramWagner Z Group : difficile à dire si la page est liée au fameux groupe Wagner, n’importe qui peut créer une page sur un réseau social et lui donner le nom qu’elle veut, mais elle présente des photos et vidéos des combats impossibles à obtenir ailleurs.Wagner Group Russia : la page propose de nombreux vidéos du groupe Wagner en Ukraine et en Afrique, il se pourrait qu’elle soit authentique ou d’un de ses soldats. Attention à certaines vidéos hyper violentes de torture et d’assassinat d’un Africain. La cruauté de Wagner n’est pas une invention, il est même difficile de comprendre pourquoi ils laissent cette vidéo sur la page.Heroes of Ukraine : page ukrainienne qui vous redonnera le moral si vous être pro ukrainien et que vous avez regardé trop de pages russes qui ne présentent bien entendu que leurs succès. La page présente de nombreuses vidéos de destruction de blindés russes très impressionnantes.Ukraine War Videos : page dont la mission est de présenter les pertes matérielles et de militaires russes. Attention, énormément de vidéos et photos de morts mis en morceaux. La page n’apporte pas beaucoup d’information si ce n’est de rappeler le caractère terrible de cette guerre, il ne s’agit pas d’un jeu vidéo, les cadavres sont calcinés, en morceaux, il n’en reste parfois plus que les os. C’est l’horreur de la guerre qu’on ne voit pas ailleurs.
- Maps of War in Ukraine (British Defence Intelligence): an extremely interesting and accurate British intelligence site, updated almost in real time.
- Marigo News: pro-Russian page in French. The administrator no longer publishes, but there is a lot of discussion in the group.
- Russian Wolf, interesting page when you don’t get blocked by the administrator!
- Géopolitcs News Afrique francophone: a site aimed primarily at French-speaking Africans, many of whom love Russia and hate France. Reading the comments gives a good idea of their state of mind.
- Censor.Net : a site that gives you the official Ukrainian news, presenting their successes rather than their losses. If they describe a difficult situation in an area, or complain about not receiving the weapons they need, it probably means they’re backing off.
- Oryx: open source site listing all Russian equipment losses: aircraft, helicopters, tanks, guns, troop transports. The site only records material that has been destroyed or damaged, so the figures are lower than they actually are, especially the Ukrainian figures, which are higher than they actually are.
It’s up to you to bookmark your favorite sites according to the information you’re looking for.
In terms of the information process, I start with the mainstream media to get a global view, then on twitter to get more precise, then on Telegram to see what’s happening on the ground, and from time to time on specialized sites like Oryx to check the figures.
A final tip: you can follow Russian pages using Google Trans, and you can even chat with Russians in the comments and pass on information they don’t have – not sure they’ll admit it, though!