Russia appears to hit Kyiv TV tower, knocking broadcasters off the air

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The Russian military has struck and heavily damaged a major TV tower in Kyiv, according to reports coming out of Ukraine.

The tower is located near Babyn Yar territory, according Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, who said that is near the site where Nazis killed over 30,000 Jews in 1941. There is also a Holocaust memorial nearby.

“80 years later, Russian Nazis strike this same land to exterminate Ukrainians. Evil and barbaric,” Kuleba tweeted.

At least five people were killed and five more injured by the strike, according President Volodymr Zelenskyy.

Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klychko said that the tower has been knocked offline due to damage to its substation and technical facilities. Broadcasts that utilized the tower were knocked off the air, including ones that were delivering important news and updates about the invasion to residents.

Prior to the invasion, many channels began simulcasting state owned Rada TV while four of the country’s biggest privately owned broadcasters joined forces to create “United News” (“Єдині новини”).

Each broadcaster takes turns producing content that is simulcast across multiple channels and incorporates official information issued by the government along with original reporting.

Rada TV is owned by the Ukrainian parliament and switched over to a news format in 2021. Prior to that it primarily broadcast parliament meetings and programming that examined the law making process. It has been accused of bias by ignoring opposing views within the country in the past.

Ukraine is working to restore signals transmitted via the affected tower as soon as possible.

Video posted on Twitter by Klychko shows an apparent airborne projectile impacting the tower, causing a large explosion and billowing smoke. The tower, however, appears to remain standing.

The apparent targeting of the tower appears to reinforce the treat of Russia aiming to knock out Ukrainians’ free access to news and information, which could prove to be a key component in shaping the messaging residents receive.

According to intelligence reports, that could include knocking out access to the internet and telecommunications in some areas of the country as Russian mounts what Ukraine calls a “major psychological operation” aimed at demoralizing its citizens.

Depending on the region, Ukrainians can access television via digital over the air signals, satellite service, cable, “wireless cable” and via streaming and OTT providers, though these all require access to power and adequate infrastructure and equipment.