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Message Paying assistance to Ukrainian male refugees is much more expensive than transferring them to the service of the Armed Forces of Ukraine

Pro-Russian online publications and users of social networks are spreading a call to expel Ukrainian refugees from Germany to Ukraine in order to relieve the burden on the German budget to pay assistance to Ukrainian men and cover the “large losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine” with recruits. By spreading this thesis, they distort an article by Peter Carstens, a journalist for the German publication Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung to liaise with and match Russian propaganda. It was analyzed by the fact-checker of the StopFake project.

The FAZ article does not call for the deportation of refugees. At the same time, the author compares the costs of social assistance to refugees who have received asylum in Germany with military support from Ukraine. From February 24, 2022 to September 2023, Germany has allocated approximately 24 billion euros to support Ukraine. Of this amount, more than 15 billion euros were allocated to help Ukrainian refugees. Data from the German Federal Government shows that military support to the Ukrainian army by the end of December 2023 amounted to only 5.4 billion euros. Carstens argues that this ratio of spending is ineffective in the context of the confrontation between Russia and Ukraine and it is necessary to increase the share of spending on military support for Kyiv.

Peter Carstens also presented the positions that exist in German society regarding Ukraine and Ukrainian refugees. In particular, he wrote that there are not enough workers in Ukraine not only at the front, but also for civil defense or for extinguishing fires. Carstens also quoted Bundestag member Roderich Kiesewetter: “It would be very helpful if the government could make an agreement so that these young people or older people can return without having to go to the front if they don’t want to”.

In early January, the topic of deportation of Ukrainian men from Europe appeared in fake news about the establishment of checkpoints to “filtrate” Ukrainian men with subsequent mobilization into the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And also in conspiracy theories about the existence of a secret order for the return of men aged 18 to 60 years from abroad, otherwise their passports and Ukrainian citizenship will be revoked.

With such messages, propagandists try to incite distrust in the governments of states hosting Ukrainians. They are also manipulating the topic of developing a bill that could change the rules for registering those liable for military servicemen and performing military service.

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