The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to record audiences for the BBC’s Russian and Ukrainian language news service websites.
The BBC Russian news website more than tripled its year-to-date weekly average, with a reach of 10.7 million people in the last week, compared to 3.1 million, according to data released by the BBC on Wednesday. The live page in Russian covering the invasion was the most visited site across the whole of the BBC World Service’s non-English language services, with 5.3 million views.
In English, bbc.com visitors in Russia soared 252% to 423,000 last week. In total, 77.4 million unique visitors consumed BBC online coverage of Ukraine in English in the first five days of the invasion, with almost 200 million views of the live page on Ukraine.
Audiences for the BBC’s Ukrainian language site more than doubled year-to-date, reaching 3.9 million in the past week, compared to 1.7 million, and the audience for bbc.com increased 154% in Ukraine.
These numbers are for direct traffic to BBC websites, and do not cover social media outlets, YouTube and Telegram.
The BBC has also launched two shortwave frequencies in the region for four hours of World Service English news a day, which can be received clearly in Kyiv and parts of Russia.
Tim Davie, BBC director general, said “It’s often said truth is the first casualty of war. In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust – and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC. We will continue giving the Russian people access to the truth, however we can.”
“Brave and committed journalists — from a range of news organizations — are doing vital work reporting events in Ukraine,” Davie added. “Not only those who have travelled there to report, but journalists for whom Ukraine is home, including our talented colleagues in the BBC’s Ukrainian service. Events are moving quickly. We want to ensure the BBC’s output continues to reach people in Ukraine, Russia and beyond. Trusted news has never been more vital.”