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The AP Interview: Fiona Hill warns ‘buckle up’ on Russia-Ukraine

Former White House national security aide Fiona Hill testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 21, 2019. As part of The AP Interview series with global newsmakers, Hill offered a sober assessment of the developing crisis over Ukraine. (AP Photo / Andrew Harnik)

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The team of Tracy Brown, Lynn Berry, Dan Huff and Nathan Ellgren collaborated on a rare 45-minute interview with Fiona Hill, a Russia scholar and analyst who served in the past three U.S. administrations. Hill offered AP a sober assessment of the Ukraine crisis.

Senior producer Brown set up the interview, during which breaking developments — President Joe Biden saying there was a “very high” risk of a Russian invasion within “several days,” and the expulsion of the deputy U.S. ambassador — were relayed to the team so that Brown could get instant analysis from Hill. Hill provided so much insight that AP turned the interview into a two-part edit, the first piece focused on the breaking news and the second story focused on Hill’s assessment of how Putin and Biden are managing the evolving crisis.

Moscow-based news editor Berry contributed to the video edits and shared a byline with Brown on the text piece,adding to AP’s already robust Ukraine coverage.

Washington video journalist Huff led the production crew which included Ellgren; they transformed a dull,beige AP conference room into a virtual professional studio. And Ellgren helped cut a promotional clip for social media that had a cautionary observation from Hill,“The basic message is buckle up because this is going to be very difficult.” That promo has more than 40,000 views,and all the interview elements,both video and text, scored heavy usage and engagement.

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