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Ukraine a Year After the Russian Invasion: A Look Ahead

Ukraine a Year After the Russian Invasion: A Look Ahead

02/01/23 4:30pm - 02/01/23 5:30pm

This event will be streamed live via the links below at 4:30 pm ET.

Be sure to RSVP here.

Moderator: Myroslava Gongadze, Eastern Europe Chief, VOA News Center

Opening Remarks and Global Audience Discussion:

  • Matthew Baise, VOA Director of Digital Strategy
  • Yolanda López, Acting VOA Director

Panel Discussion:

  • George Barros, Geospatial Intelligence Team, Institute for the Study of War
  • Melinda Haring, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council
  • Ruslan Petrychka, Chief, VOA Ukrainian Service

Audience Q&A: Rafael Saakov, TV Anchor & Reporter, VOA Russian Service

Speaker Biographies:

Matthew Baise, VOA Director of Digital Strategy

Matthew Baise is VOA’s Director of Digital Strategy and Audience Development. In this role he leads audience development across web, mobile, and social platforms for VOA’s 45 languages. He joined the agency in 2010 as Internet Managing Editor for VOA’s English website, where he restructured operations and workflow to double target audiences in his first year. Prior to VOA, Matthew was with the Tribune Company as Head of Digital Media at The Baltimore Sun, where he was among key leaders instrumental for the merger of print and online teams into a single newsroom. Prior to that he held various positions as an editor, reporter, and web producer. He received a Bachelor of Science from James Madison University in Political Science, English, and Philosophy.

George Barros, Geospatial Intelligence Team, Institute for the Study of War

George Barros is the Geospatial Intelligence Team Lead and an analyst on the Russia and Ukraine portfolio at the Institute for the Study of War. His work within the Geospatial Intelligence Team focuses on innovating ISW's open source research methodology with remote sensing data collection, data visualization, and geospatial analysis. His work within the Russia and Ukraine portfolio focuses on Russian information operations, the Kremlin’s campaigns in Ukraine and Belarus, and Ukrainian politics. George received his B.A. with Honors in International Relations and Global Studies with a concentration in Russian and Post-Soviet Studies from the College of William & Mary. Prior to joining ISW, he worked in the U.S. House of Representatives as an advisor on Ukraine and Russia for a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee.

Myroslava Gongadze, Eastern Europe Chief, VOA News Center

A veteran broadcaster and award-winning journalist, Myroslava Gongadze is currently the Eastern Europe Chief at VOA. From 2015-2022, she was the chief of the Ukrainian service, and joined the service originally in 2004, serving as a reporter and anchor. Most recently a 2019 Neiman Foundation Fellow at Harvard University where she studied disinformation, Gongadze has also previously been a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at George Washington University, and has a degree in law from Ivan Franko National University. Gongadze has won numerous awards for her reporting on events such as the Euromaidan and Orange Revolutions, including the Order of Princess Olha, third class, a Ukrainian civil decoration bestowed on women of outstanding personal merit. Her strong international profile as reporter and television anchor has been bolstered by her regular interviews with top U.S. and Ukrainian government officials, most recently with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken. She was also a moderator of Ukraine’s nationally televised first post-Maidan election debates in 2014 and the host of the newsmaker interview program on First National TV, Prime Time with Myroslava Gongadze.

Melinda Haring, Senior Fellow, Atlantic Council

Melinda Haring is director of stakeholder relations and social impact at the Superhumans Center and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. Previously, she was the deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center and editor of the Atlantic Council’s popular publication, the UkraineAlert blog. She is the author of the report Reforming the democracy bureaucracy(FPRI, 2013) coauthor of Biden and Ukraine: a strategy for the next administration (Atlantic Council, 2021), Biden and Belarus: a strategy for the next administration(Atlantic Council, 2021), Ukraine’s internally displaced persons hold a key to peace (Atlantic Council, 2017), and a contributor to Does democracy matter? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017). Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. A graduate of Georgetown University, she holds an MA in Government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is the chair of the board of East Europe Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, a member of the supervisory board of Right to Protection in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Yolanda López, Acting VOA Director

A veteran journalist, Yolanda López was appointed Acting VOA Director on January 21, 2021. She has led VOA coverage through a particularly turbulent time in global affairs: the coup in Myanmar, the evacuation of Afghan journalists following the Taliban takeover and the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Prior to the appointment, Yolanda served as Director of the VOA News Center, overseeing all editorial and content production, including US elections and the pandemic. She joined VOA in 2015 as Latin America Division Director. Under her leadership, the division experienced significant growth in audience by expanding media partnerships and affiliations. A native of Barcelona, Spain, she worked for the Spanish language television network Univision as news director, producer, and executive producer. Prior to joining Univision, she was an on-air personality for a Telemundo affiliate in Texas. López was a communications and digital media professional in Barcelona. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona.

Ruslan Petrychka, Chief, VOA Ukrainian Service

Ruslan Petrychka is the Chief of VOA’s Ukrainian Service. An experienced reporter and TV anchor working out of VOA’s Washington D.C. headquarters, Petrychka regularly hosts VOA Ukrainian’s daily TV Show “Chas-Time.” As a reporter, he particularly enjoys covering political and economic developments in both the United States and Ukraine and he follows closely all other news developments in both countries. Petrychka holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science and a Master of Arts in journalism from the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy in Ukraine. He also holds a Master in Business Administration from Georgetown University.

Rafael Saakov, TV Anchor & Reporter, VOA Russian Service

Rafael Saakov is anchoring the live talk show “Discussion VOA,” airing from Washington, D.C. that covers main foreign policy issues, as well as major breaking news stories through virtual round table discussions with guest experts. As one of the anchors for VOA’s Russian-language television programming, Saakov also regularly hosts and edits the daily show “Current Time America” on the Current Time TV channel and interviews U.S. diplomats, lawmakers, and other high-profile officials. During his 15 years reporting from Moscow, London and now Washington, D.C., Saakov has covered local, parliamentary and presidential elections in Russia and Ukraine; the largest opposition rallies in Moscow in 2011 and 2012; and the main court trials of Russian opposition leaders and activists. Saakov has also covered major sporting events, including the Olympics in London, Sochi and most recently Pyeongchang, South Korea, where he was VOA’s sole reporter covering the Winter Games. In 2014, The Guardian newspaper reported that Saakov is among the top news tweeters on the post-Soviet world. Prior to VOA, he was BBC’s Russian service multimedia correspondent based in Moscow, with regular assignments in London. Rafael Saakov holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Moscow State University’s Faculty of Journalism.