Message Ukraine violates the Geneva Conventions by sending soldiers released from captivity to the front line

This thesis was circulated on social networks, in particular on telegram channels broadcasting pro-Kremlin rhetoric. Reports say that Ukraine is allegedly violating the Geneva Conventions by sending soldiers who have returned from captivity to the front lines. Like, the leadership of Ukraine is indifferent to the military, so they do everything as they want.

The specialists of the VoxCheck project investigated the case and determined that such a thesis is unfounded. In international humanitarian law, there is indeed an option of the exchange of prisoners, according to which a former prisoner of war is obliged not to return to military service. However, this is one of the options, so there is no evidence that Russia and Ukraine agreed on just such a release from captivity, because there are other formats for the exchange of prisoners.

There is no single rule in international law that all former prisoners of war must refuse to take part in hostilities. According to Jeroen van den Boogaard, researcher, consultant on international law in the Legal Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, international humanitarian law provides for 4 options for the release of prisoners of war before the end of hostilities:

conditional early release of prisoners fit for service. Typically, the dismissal comes in exchange for a commitment not to use arms again in the same conflict; however, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) claims that the practice of such dismissal has been significantly reduced since 1949, and many states today prohibit their military from agreeing to parole;

the release of captives fit for service who were held captive for a particularly long period; such an exchange could be arranged using intermediaries such as a neutral state or the ICRC;

the release of wounded or sick prisoners of war who will benefit from treatment in a neutral state;

the release of prisoners of war who, for health reasons, are unlikely to be able to continue to participate in hostilities.

It is not known for certain which of these options Russia and Ukraine chose. The Ukrainian bodies involved in the exchange of prisoners of war did not report that the dismissed fighters would not be able to return to duty again, and did not disclose all the details of negotiations with Russia. Former prisoners also cannot publicly talk about all the details. At the same time, there is confirmation that in Ukraine there is no ban on the return of former prisoners to military service.

Fake The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine banned criminals from using the greeting “Glory to Ukraine”

Pro-Russian telegram channels and social networks disseminate information that in Ukraine they allegedly make “punitive penal units” of people convicted of desertion, rape and murder. Like, the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine forbade them to use the “battle cry” “Glory to Ukraine”, since by doing so they discredit the Ukrainian army. Allegedly, in order to use this greeting, you first need to “atone yourself” on the battlefield. The reports also add that instead of “Glory to Ukraine”, the guardsmen most often prefer to use Russian swearing or the slogan “Death to enemies!”. It's fake.

There are no so-called “punitive penal units” in Ukraine. Prisoners do participate in hostilities, but for the most part this concerns the former military. Before sending a prisoner to the front, they take into account their combat experience, services to the state and sincere repentance. However, these are isolated cases in contrast to the mass mobilization of prisoners into the ranks of the Russian army.

In October 2018, the Verkhovna Rada approved the military greeting “Glory to Ukraine! - Glory to heroes!” as an official greeting of the Ukrainian army and the National Police of Ukraine. However, there is no evidence that the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine has banned anyone from using this greeting, VoxCheck fact-checkers note. There is no confirmation that the guardsmen use Russian swearing or the slogan “Death to enemies!” instead of greeting. In fact, the expression “Death to enemies!” is part of the slogan “Glory to the nation! - Death to enemies!”, which is considered a continuation of the greeting “Glory to Ukraine! - Glory to heroes!”.

In this way, the propagandists nourish the narrative of Nazism in Ukraine. Like, Ukrainians are divided into worthy and unworthy to use certain slogans. Also, Russian propaganda uses reflection tactics to emphasize that former criminals also serve in the Ukrainian army.

Fake Russia will hand over Transcarpathian POWs to the Hungarian government

Such a fake was distributed in the Hungarian segment of social networks, including Facebook. The reports say that allegedly Ukrainian prisoners of war among the Hungarian national minority of the Transcarpathian region, will be handed over to the Hungarian government by Russia. Like, despite the fact that the military are Ukrainians, they need the protection of the Orban government, because they are ethnically Hungarians and no one will take care of them in Ukraine. The messages of the authors were picked up by Ukrainian users of the social network and began to distribute it in various groups on Facebook. It is not true.

Analysts of the Infopost project took the case and examined that this claim is unfounded, since Ukrainian prisoners of war are under the protection of Ukraine, regardless of whether they belong to any of the national minorities. According to the publication, the fake news was published by the Békekör Egyesület organization. According to journalists, this is a typical pro-Russian group. Since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, this organization has dealt exclusively with the issue of Hungarians as a national minority in Transcarpathia.

This organization also joined marginal rallies, the purpose of which was to stop the mobilization of national minorities, in particular Hungarians, in Transcarpathia. As the journalists explain, representatives of the Russian special services, with whom the head of the pro-Russian organization is in close contact, were involved in the preparation of the action.

Fake Released prisoners of war await prison or forced return to the front

Such a fake was spread on social networks and in the propaganda media. The report says that no one spares prisoners of war in Ukraine. Like, upon returning from captivity, male and female fighters face a choice: to return forcibly to the front or go to jail. Allegedly, the Ukrainian leadership is indifferent to its army and everyone wants constant victories, returning defenders to the front. The authors of the messages refer to the appeal of Moskalkova, the Ombudswoman for human rights of Russia. It's a lie.

Analysts of the StopFake project drew attention to this case and found out that the information disseminated by Moskalkova is not true. After returning to Ukraine, Ukrainian prisoners of war are not expected to either go to a prison or face a forced return to the front. Analysts turned to the Coordination headquarters for the treatment of prisoners of war with a request to explain the algorithm of actions with prisoners of war who returned from captivity. As the press service of the headquarters said, first of all, the military is undergoing a process of reintegration into Ukrainian society, which includes physical and psychological rehabilitation. Then the released POW has the right to vacation, after which a special commission will decide on the possibility of serving further.

By spreading this fake, propagandists nourish the narrative that everything is bad in Ukraine, there is supposedly no one to fight, so the prisoners have to be mobilized again, despite their psychological or physical condition.

Fake Artillery soldier Marharyta Rivchachenko was taken prisoner

A message about allegedly captured Ukrainian soldiers was circulated on telegram channels. The message on the channel said that Marharyta Rivchachenko, an artillery soldier of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the call sign “Sakura”, fired at residential areas of Donetsk with a mortar and was punished for that. The authors of the messages add a likely photo to the publication, which should indicate that Marharyta is in captivity. However, this is not true.

The Kharkiv anti-corruption center investigated this case and contacted Marharyta to refute the fake. She confirmed that she was not in captivity and added that, firstly, she was a press officer, not an artillery female soldier. Secondly, the invaders came up with the call sign of the press officer given in the fake publication. Her real call sign is “Afina” (Athena). Moreover, Marharyta is convinced that the photo, supposedly proof of being taken prisoner, is not real. Since there is neither a face nor the corresponding chevrons that could belong to a fighter.

By spreading this fake, Russian propagandists are trying to show how they successfully fight the Ukrainian army and publish their “trophies” - supposedly Ukrainian military taken prisoner. However, as experience shows, this information is often not true. Also, by constantly spreading messages with prisoners, propaganda seeks to confirm the narrative that the Ukrainian army is weak.