Translate a Story Ukraine, Mapping Ukraine Damage, Yandex, More: Ukraine Update, April 21, 2022


UNESCO: UNESCO and NORAD join forces with partners to translate storybooks for Ukrainian children. “The Translate a Story Ukraine campaign has set out to translate at least 100 early-age digital books into Ukrainian. The translated books will be proofread and made available on the Global Digital Library (GDL) and local Ukrainian online platforms. They will be freely accessible through mobile phones, tablets and other mobile learning devices.”

The Mainichi: Japan researchers create online maps with satellite images to expose damage in Ukraine. “A research team led by a University of Tokyo professor has created digital maps utilizing satellite images and other photos to show the reality of damaged areas in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion. Hidenori Watanave, information design professor at the University of Tokyo’s graduate school, said that by updating latest information online, internet users can observe the movements of troops coming in from Russia, as well as the state of the expanding destruction in eastern Ukraine following large-scale battles.”


The Moscow Times, translated from Russian (I could not find a version of the article in English): Authorities banned Yandex from selling Novosti and Zen. “The sale of Zen and Novosti was postponed on orders from ‘above,’ two Yandex managers told The Moscow Times . One of them complained that against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the media assets of Yandex, the second most popular search engine in Russia after Google, have become toxic and negatively affect the company’s reputation.”

Washington Post: For Russian tech firms, Putin’s crackdown ended their global ambitions. “Yandex’s slow collapse, detailed here for the first time, shows how even the most advanced companies couldn’t be safe with their core operations in Russia, underscoring why entrepreneurs and investors predict that it will be years, if not decades, before they’ll be willing to reengage there again.”

The Verge: Google denies Ukrainian reports it unblurred satellite Maps imagery in Russia. “The Verge was able to confirm that at least one of the images from the tweet is available on Google Maps, and it does depict an active Russian military site. We were also able to find other examples of Google Maps showing other bases in the country. However, the company says this isn’t new.”


SwissInfo: Swiss technology foils Russian censorship. “The Swiss software Kiwix enables the user to copy entire websites so they can be accessible offline. Now that Wikipedia risks sanction in Russia because of its content on the Ukraine war, downloads of the free online encyclopaedia using Kiwix are off the charts.”


Motherboard: Russia’s Latest Propaganda Video: the TikTok Sea Shanty. With Fake Nurses.. “Russian-backed separatists have recorded a propaganda version of ‘The Wellerman Song’ the ‘sea shanty’ that went viral on TikTok last year. The video shows women dressed as First World War nurses doing a coordinated dance routine in front of a projection of the flag of the Luhansk People’s Republic.”

Business Insider: Russia’s propaganda machine is so powerful that many Russians don’t even realize they’re in a disinformation bubble. “Western leaders are urging Russian citizens to access independent and verified news about the ongoing war in Ukraine as Russia ramps up its invasion and corresponding disinformation campaign. On April 6, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson called on Russians to obtain VPNs in order to access international media outlets. But experts and Russians alike say Johnson’s appeal — and his proposed solution — may not make much of a dent in the course of the war.”

The Guardian: Empty galleries and fleeing artists: Russia’s cultural uncoupling from the west . “On a recent Saturday in April, Muscovites strolled around GES-2, a vast new arts centre built in a disused power station steps away from the Kremlin. But guests visiting the 54,400-sq-metre centre, designed by the pioneering Italian architect Renzo Piano, were faced with one hard-to-miss problem: the art was absent. ‘It is not the time for contemporary art when people are dying and blood is spilling. We can’t pretend as if life is normal,’ said Evgeny Antufiev, a Russian artist who asked for his works to be removed from GES-2 shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February.”

Washington Post: Sinking of Russian warship raises tense questions about fate of crew. “Russia confirmed that the ship sank but said only that it had been damaged by ‘heavy storms’ and a fire that caused ammunition on board to detonate. On April 14, the Russian defense ministry said all crew members were evacuated. The authorities have not confirmed any dead or wounded. But several families are now contradicting this claim in Russian media reports and on social media. Social media groups uniting mothers of Russian soldiers deployed in Ukraine are filling up with photos and pleas from parents looking for their missing sons.”


Reuters: U.S. lawmakers urge Facebook to do more to fight Russia propaganda in Spanish. “A group of 21 U.S. lawmakers sent a letter to Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday voicing concern about what they called disinformation on the platform aimed at Spanish speakers about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

AFP: Tech battles to show worth in Ukraine war crimes probes. “Russia’s war in Ukraine is still being counted in days, but images of atrocities already number in the hundreds of thousands. The conflict is the first to throw up such rich evidence in real time, but the sheer volume of material poses a huge challenge for those trying to use it as evidence of war crimes.”

The Times: Stolen AirPods give away Russian retreat positions. “A Ukrainian man has been able to track the redeployment of Russian troops to the east of the country via a pair of wireless earbuds looted from his home near Kyiv. Vitaliy Semenets used the ‘Find my’ feature available on Apple products to follow the progress of the stolen Airpod via Bluetooth technology.”

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