Depending on the media outlets you're tuning into, the current crisis in the Ukraine could trigger another Cold War between the United States and Russia, or simply be a bout of political posing from the Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The confusion over the true story is leading many Internet users to switch off their televisions, close their newspapers, and head to Twitter instead. If you really want to know what's happening on the ground, these are the nine key accounts you need to follow.
Christopher Miller: Kyiv Post Editor Sees Conflict Through Local Eyes
Until recently, most Westerners had never heard of the Kyiv Post. Yet now the Ukraine's leading English-language newspaper has become one of the best sources of information on the country's crisis. If you're too far away to pick up a copy of the publication, then following editor Christopher Miller's Twitter feed or Facebook news updates are the next best thing.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, this Ukrainian-based journalist has had plenty of experience translating and explaining local politics for English speakers. His colorful images and perceptive commentary are some of the most insightful that you'll find on social media. He's also "one of the most prolific tweeters from Independence Square," according to Canada's CTV News.
Ukraine Pravda: Opposition Newspaper Publishes Plenty of Multimedia
The bias of opposition newspaper Ukraine Pravda should be noted, but unless you read Cyrillic that probably won't worry you. Its tweets are rarely in English, but don't let that put you off. The newspaper's Twitter feed features plenty of photographs and videos which capture the events on the ground as they unfold. The strong visual element makes this account appealing for people interested in the Ukrainian crisis from all corners of the globe.
Euro Maidan: Compelling Images Galore
Euro Maidan is another Twitter account that makes for compulsive viewing for social networkers who prefer to see their news, rather than read it. It claims to be the official Twitter account of the "Ukrainian Revolution," and this title's helped it amass a whopping 104,000 followers.
Again, the tweets tend to be in Ukrainian, but the stunning images of the protests in Independence Square are striking enough to overcome any language barrier. Americans audiences will also happily note that Euro Maidan also retweets the insights of English-speaking reporters working on the ground.
VICE: Counter Culture Alternative to Traditional News
Shane Smith isn't like most media moguls. He counts film director Spike Jonze as one of his closest friends, wears black T-shirts and beaten Vans sneakers like a uniform, and listens to a soundtrack of classic punk music. Just as Smith himself dares to be different, so does VICE, the monthly arts and culture magazine he founded in 1994.
A lot has changed since the grungy days of the '90s, and VICE has changed with them to ensure it stays a relevant voice to its largely youth demographic. Through its Twitter account and Facebook page, VICE is providing constant commentary on unfolding issues including the crisis in the Ukraine. VICE News reporter Simon Ostrovsky has posted his observations on the situation and a series of videos, titled "Russian Roulette: The Invasion of Ukraine." These short clips shine a spotlight on the Russian troops occupying Ukrainian military bases and the mysterious masked men attacking journalists attempting to cover the situation.
Max Seddon: Buzzfeed Journalist Gives Good Overview of Ukrainian Crisis
It's worth noting that Max Seddon isn't always on the ground covering the Ukrainian crisis; he tends to split his time between Kiev and Moscow. However, no matter where he is, this foreign affairs reporter for Buzzfeed has some smart insights on the protests and their fallout.
He also regularly retweets information from other media outlets, so followers enjoy a great overview of what's happening in Independence Square and beyond.
Shaun Walker: The Guardian Correspondent Dishes on Ukraine
As The Guardian's Moscow correspondent and The Independent's former Moscow correspondent, Shaun Walker is one journalist who understands Ukraine and its politics. He's lived in Russia for several years, and his immersion in the culture shows.
His Twitter account offers links to his articles covering the current Ukrainian situation, but it's more than simply a collection of clippings. Walker also publishes his own observations about the unfolding drama and interacts with his followers to help them understand the problems abroad.
Maxim Eristavi: Respected Ukrainian Radio Editor
Maxim Eristavi might not be a household name in the Western world, but the editor in chief of Ukraine's Golos 106FM is quickly becoming one of the most respected sources for news about his country. His Twitter account has more than 11,900 followers including many high profile journalists, politicians, and activists.
Eristavi regularly posts photographs and short videos from the ground as well as his brief news announcements, which are often made before the rest of the world.
Nataliya Gumenyuk: Ukrainian Freelancer Offers Local Perspective
Nataliya Gumenyuk honed her journalistic skills as the head of the foreign news department of the Ukrainian television channel INTER. Her work as a foreign correspondent saw her reporting on key political and social events around the world. However she left it all behind in 2010 to commence work as a freelance journalist. This status means she's not beholden to the wishes of a parent media outlet, which is something that suits this activist from the Stop Censorship! movement down to the ground.
With her firm commitment to free speech, it's unsurprising that her Twitter account offers some of the most candid comments about the Ukrainian crisis that you'll find online. Her unique position in the thick of the protests sees her capturing the urgency of the situation better than most media sources.
Kateryna Kruk: An Inside Look at the Protests
Kateryna Kruk's Twitter account takes followers right into the heart of the crisis in Ukraine, because this 22-year-old press secretary for an opposition lawmaker isn't simply an impartial journalist. She's a protestor.
Through her Twitter account, Kateryna has been reporting from the streets of Kiev since the demonstrations against Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych began. Almost four months later she's still there, protesting and reaching out to her Twitter followers in an attempt to break what she calls the "information blockade" that stops much of the world understanding the reasons behind the unrest.
The six o'clock news might offer its views on the crisis, but you'll get the real story much faster from these Twitter accounts reporting on the ground in the Ukraine.
Feature image via Flickr by Oxlaey.com