Viewed with the sound off, it appears on video to be a tour of a typical construction site in eastern Ukraine. But unmuted, the report by Russian TV host Arkady Mamontov becomes more ominous. As eerie music overlays the din of power drills, the camera zooms in on a tube protruding from a piece of brick wall and then quickly cuts to what appears to be a small shower room.

U.S. lawmakers apparently now believe that the way to counter Russia's information offensive is by supplying propaganda of our own. The code for this is "messaging" -- in other words, the priority should be on "getting America's message out."

Armed gunmen wearing military fatigues burst into the office of Roman Lazorenko in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk recently. They had a simple request for the local journalist. The men said they didn't want to be called separatists anymore, Lazorenko told the Guardian. They demanded that journalists instead refer to them as “supporters of federalization."

I had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Ardaiolo of the Public Diplomat, a podcast and website produced by students and scholars at Syracuse University’s public diplomacy program. I speak about my research into how digital platforms have been incorporated into US public diplomacy, and how this reflects broader institutional shifts in the practice and discourse of PD.

Considering the month of April alone, the State Department said it was "deeply concerned" about each of these situations: justice in Turkey; peaceful challenges of official Chinese policies; restrictions of freedom in Egypt; a Ugandan raid on a U.S.-funded medical facility; the humanitarian crisis in Burma and certain actions of the Republika Srpska, among other various and diverse issues — many extremely serious.

The conflict in Ukraine came up during the Russian Foreign Minister’s visit to Cuba Tuesday.Sergei Lavrov is in Havana meeting with his Cuban counterpart.Cuba has backed Russia in the Ukraine crisis.

No sooner had the leaders of the so-called "People's Republics" of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Odessa declared the return of "Novorossiya" ("New Russia") earlier this month than they began fighting among themselves. Though they agree that the entire southeastern portion of Ukraine should join their self-proclaimed breakaway nation, they are divided over who should lead this new government.

Moscow is subjecting Ukrainians, Russians and the rest of the world to an intense campaign of disinformation that tries to paint a dangerous and false picture of Ukraine’s legitimate government. Russia Today, the Moscow-based TV network financed by the government, is a key player in this campaign of distortion. Along with its Russian operation, RT operates an English-language broadcast out of Washington.