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Fake Ukrainian military allegedly shoots African mercenaries for desertion

Propagandists are distributing videos on anonymous pro-Russian telegram channels with allegedly Ukrainian soldiers shooting African mercenaries for desertion. Poor quality shows two men in military uniforms with blue armbands and four men kneeling against the wall. However, this video is fake.

StopFake specialists drew attention to it. They suggest that the video was created by Russian propaganda to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Fact-checkers found that although the Ukrainian language is used in the video for authenticity, the men in the frame are unable to hide the fact that they are not native speakers. Instead of “ne” in the phrase “not sitting”, the man in uniform says “nie”, and before the shot he shouts: “Zakinchui” (“Finish them!”), which is a direct translation of the Russian “Konchai!” - a phrase that is not inherent in Ukrainian in this context. In addition, not a single face is visible in the video, and not a single chevron can be seen on the military. Although at first glance it appears that the filming is taking place in a basement, the room actually has doors and windows. It seems that they were deliberately covered with fabric for filming.

In the end, after the so-called “execution” the video was blurred, but it is still noticeable that the brick wall in front of which the men were kneeling did not receive any damage. The brick is quite fragile and after so many shots, debris and dust should appear.

This is not the first time Russians have resorted to whataboutism, a propaganda tactic that helps divert attention away from Russia. StopFake experts suggest that the video was created by Russian propaganda to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Thus, Russian propagandists are spreading false information about arbitrariness in the Ukrainian army, thereby distracting Russians from the crimes. According to Ukrainian legislation, foreigners who join the Armed Forces of Ukraine are not mercenaries, and desertion in the army is punishable by imprisonment.

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