The Prime Minister will today announce an extra £4.1million for the national broadcaster as he steps up the fight against Russia. The funding will help support the BBC’s Ukrainian and Russian language services, and tackle disinformation being spread by the Kremlin.
More money will be announced by Mr Johnson today when he meets leaders at a NATO and G7 leaders’ meeting in Brussels.
He will also confirm Britain is to provide Ukraine with about 6,000 new defensive missiles.
“The United Kingdom will work with our allies to step up military and economic support to Ukraine, strengthening their defences as they turn the tide in this fight,” the Prime Minister said ahead of his visit.
“One month into this crisis, the international community faces a choice.
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“We can keep the flame of freedom alive in Ukraine, or risk it being snuffed out across Europe and the world.”
Ministers believe the BBC has played an important role so far in the conflict in keeping those in Russia up to date with the truth about what is happening in Ukraine.
With Moscow state-sponsored outlets parroting Kremlin propaganda, the BBC is giving ordinary Russians a more accurate picture of the war.
A new law passed in Russia bans the media from referring to an “invasion” or “war” and those seen to be critical of the country’s military can be prosecuted.
Access to the BBC’s website, along with foreign news outlets, has been restricted by the Russian state communications watchdog.
The country’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova claimed earlier this month that the BBC was playing “a determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security”.
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Extra funding provided by the Prime Minister today will help the BBC combat the attempts of Russia to block its news coverage.
Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries, who has long been critical of the corporation, praised the BBC for its role in the war shortly after the invasion began.
She was close to tears in the House of Commons as she paid tribute to the BBC and its journalists on the front line.
“We are on the side of free media,” she told the Commons on March 3.
“It was brilliant to see the audience for the BBC’s Russian-language news site has gone up from 3.1 million to 10.7 million in the past week.
“Despite his best efforts to censor reporting in Russia, Putin’s own citizens are turning to factual, independent information in their millions.”
She hailed the BBC’s “unbiased and accurate news from a live war zone”.
In the first week after the war, the audience for the BBC’s Russian language news website more than tripled its year-to-date weekly average, with a record reach of 10.7m people reading its content.