Spilnota Detector Media

Fake Ukrainian soldiers allegedly shot Russians who wanted to surrender

Russian telegram channels are distributing a video in which allegedly soldiers of the Third Separate Assault Brigade (3rd Separate Assault Brigade) shot Russians in a trench who were trying to surrender.

The Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security at the Ministry of Culture and Information Policy of Ukraine stated that this video recording was obviously staged. Firstly, in the video one can trace the artificial Ukrainian actors - “fighters”. Secondly, the “killed man” suddenly began to move. In fact, Ukraine adheres to the Geneva Conventions and treats prisoners humanely. The Russian army has repeatedly shot Ukrainian soldiers who surrendered.

Thus, propagandists encourage the Russian military to kill every Ukrainian, even unarmed ones, without hesitation, they say, “look, they do this!” In addition, in this case, Russian propaganda uses tactics of reflection, that is, they bring forward the same accusations against Ukraine as it does against Russia. Only the Ukrainian side has real grounds for this, unlike Russia, because, for example, only on February 18-20, 2024, cases of executions of Ukrainian prisoners of war by Russian occupiers near Avdiivka, Vesele and Robotyne were recorded.

Read also: While studying in Germany, Ukrainian soldiers allegedly boast about the atrocities they commit against Russians

Fake Arestovych allegedly accused Zaluzhnyi of shooting down the Il-76 aircraft

A video is being distributed online in which a former freelance adviser to the Office of the President of Ukraine, Oleksii Arestovych, allegedly accuses Valerii Zaluzhnyi of shooting down the Il-76 aircraft in order to frame the Office of the President. The video also states that there were supposedly Azov brigade prisoners of war on board of the plane. However, this is fake.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to it. They found out that Arestovych never made such statements, and the video was a deepfake made with the help of artificial intelligence. No evidence or comments from Arestovych on social networks were found to support this story. In addition, incorrect facial expressions and the discrepancy between the term “Azov Regiment” and the actual name of the brigade indicate falsification. The results of testing the video using tools such as Deepware and AI Speech Classifier confirmed the possibility of creating it using AI. In addition, experts discovered that the footage used to create this fake was taken from a live broadcast on Arestovych’s YouTube channel, but the speaker did not mention the Il-76, and the reticence occurred the day before the event.

Propagandists create and spread such fake news to divert attention from the crimes of the Russians and incite controversy among the political elite of Ukraine.

Fake Fake about lists of Ukrainian prisoners of war whom Ukraine does not seem to want to return

Lists of Ukrainian prisoners, whom Ukraine does not seem to want to return, are being circulated on social networks. These are the names and surnames of real people in Russian captivity. However, the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War reports that the Russian side did not offer these lists for exchange.

They also noted that Ukraine has a significant exchange fund and is ready to exchange “all for all”. However, Russia is not interested in bringing its military personnel home. The Coordination Headquarters continues negotiations for the speedy release of all Ukrainians caught in Russian captivity and living there in the most difficult conditions.

Russian propaganda continues to speculate on the feelings of Ukrainians whose relatives were captured or are considered missing, because they regard this as a lever of influence on Ukrainian society. The Coordination Headquarters writes that new exchanges are being prepared and calls on Ukrainian society to remain united and not trust the enemy and his provocations.

Fake A Territorial center of recruitment and social support employee allegedly called a military man’s wife a “katsap woman”

Social networks in the Russian segment are disseminating information that an employee of one of the local territorial recruitment and social support centers addressed the wife of a Ukrainian prisoner of war, saying that “she is a katsap’s (Russian) wife, and he is the master of his country”. Allegedly, this happened during a meeting between the relatives of the prisoners and the city administration of the city of Lozova, Kharkiv region. Photos are attached to the publication, which supposedly should testify to the words of an employee of the Territorial center of recruitment and social support . It is not true.

The VoxCheck specialists analyzed this case and found out that the quote from the so-called Territorial center of recruitment and social support employee was simply made up. After all, at first these messages were published on telegram channels of the Russian segment and subsequently replicated online without indicating the original source. A reverse search on Google showed that the photos used in the publication were actually taken in Lozova during a meeting of relatives of prisoners and missing persons.

Although representatives of the Territorial center of recruitment and social support were present at the meeting, they did not make any such statements, nor was there any mention of this in the media.

Manipulation They allegedly spend more money on one prisoner in Ukraine every month than on pensions for Ukrainians

Information is being spread on the Internet that supposedly 10 thousand hryvnias are spent monthly on the maintenance of one prisoner of war in Ukraine, and if the amount is less, this is a violation of human rights. At the same time, the state allocates only 2,500 hryvnia monthly for pensions of Ukrainians. However, this is not true.

Specialists from the VoxCheck project drew attention to this. They found out that the cost of maintaining a prisoner included not only clothing and food, but also utilities, staff and security. No special conditions were created for Russians, since the same amount is spent on maintaining prisoners in Ukraine. In March 2023, Deputy Minister of Justice Olena Vysotska stated that about 10 thousand hryvnia per month are spent on one prisoner of war in Ukraine. However, this amount includes not only clothing and food for the prisoner, but also payment for utilities, arrangement of the place of detention, work of staff and security, and so on. The Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War does not specify a specific amount that the state must allocate for their maintenance. Each country determines this amount itself. Prisoners are also involved in work in the camp, and their labor partially offsets the costs.

As for pensions, in 2024 more than 271 billion hryvnia will be allocated from the state budget to pay pensions. The average pension in Ukraine exceeds 5,300 hryvnia. It is incorrect to compare expenses on prisoners and pensions, since these are different categories of expenses related to the protection of human rights and social support of the population.

With their statements, users are trying to sow hostile sentiments in society and emphasize that Ukraine allegedly does not care about its residents. Detector Media recently denied other manipulations related to Ukrainian captives.

Fake Only 173 servicemen allegedly returned to Ukraine

Propagandists claim that, according to them, only 173 military personnel returned to Ukraine in exchange for 248 Russian citizens. According to them, the exchange allegedly took place in the format of 173 people on both sides. At the same time, Russia additionally received 75 military personnel for those five Azovstal defense commanders, whom Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi took from Turkey in the summer of 2023. It is not true.

In fact, the Ukrainian side officially reported that 230 people returned to their homeland, including 130 military personnel, 55 national guardsmen, 38 border guards, one policeman and six civilians.

Propagandists spread such fakes to create distrust in the Ukrainian authorities. They say that Kyiv does not care about the fate of prisoners. They spread such fabrications whenever there is talk of an exchange of prisoners. So, in the summer, when the exchange of Azovstal commanders was called a violation of previous agreements. They say that the military should have remained in Turkey until the end of hostilities.

Disclosure Propagandists began to use more personal information of Ukrainian prisoners of war

The number of telegram channels and pages on social networks promising to help in the search for captured or missing Ukrainian military personnel has recently increased. It is indicated that to complete this task they contact relatives and friends with questions about personal data and other information. This information is subsequently used by propagandists.

Specialists from the “Beyond the News” project cited the answers of the Coordination Headquarters for the Treatment of Prisoners of War to the most common questions. In particular, one cannot share their phone number and other contacts, residential address, social media profiles, brigade number, unit location, as well as photographs, including images with comrades from the army, to strangers.

The dissemination of such information could lead to a deterioration in the situation of military personnel. If scammers can simply profit from someone else's misfortune, representatives of enemy intelligence services can manipulate or resort to blackmail.

The project specialists note that no one on social networks, such as Facebook or Telegram, will effectively search for your loved one. This work is performed professionally and free of charge only by specialists authorized by government agencies. A Road Map is available on the official website of the Prisoner of War Coordination Headquarters, which details what a family should do in cases where a family member is captured, missing, or killed.

Fake Ukraine allegedly passed a law to “conceal torture in prisons”

Media spreading pro-Russian rhetoric are spreading a fake news story about the Ukrainian parliament passing a law that allegedly aims to “hide up torture in prisons”. According to it, since other countries refuse to extradite detained Ukrainians to Ukraine due to “non-compliance with human rights” there, the Verkhovna Rada decided to pass a law that will protect such prisoners. This, it would seem, is being carried out with the goal of “convincing partners to hand over persons unpleasant” to the regime to the neo-Nazis. However, this is manipulation.

Specialists from the StopFake project drew attention to it. They point out that propagandists not only misspelled the name of the Verkhovna Rada deputy who co-authored the bill — not Vadym Bozhyk, but Valerii Bozhyk — but also distorted the content of the legislative initiative for propaganda purposes. We are talking about bill No. 9451, the purpose of which is to ensure respect for the rights and freedoms of convicted Ukrainians extradited to Ukraine for prosecution or execution of a sentence. The explanatory note notes that the law was proposed due to the refusal of many countries to fulfill requests for extradition to Ukraine due to violations in Ukrainian penal institutions of Article 3 of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms on the prohibition of torture, as well as due to the inability to ensure security during the stay of persons in penal institutions under martial law.

Bozhyk explained that because of this law, the Ministry of Justice receives the authority to approve a list of correctional labor or educational colonies to which Ukrainians from extradition will be transferred. It is also indicated that such institutions will fully comply with both the requirements of national legislation and Ukraine’s international obligations in the field of human rights.

Propagandists spread such manipulations to discredit Ukraine and portray it as a country that systematically violates international law. Detector Media has already repeatedly refuted other Russian video fakes.

Fake Commander of Azov Denys Prokopenko “Redis” was captured again

In the Kremlin media and the Russian segment of Facebook they disseminate information that the commander of Azov, Denys Prokopenko “Redis”, who returned from Turkey after being extracted from Russian captivity, was allegedly taken prisoner again on August 18-19. They refer to the Russian propagandist Semen Pehov. Prokopenko was allegedly taken prisoner near the village of Mala Tavolzhanka. It's fake.

The case was investigated by the fact-checkers of the StopFake project. The telegram channel of the Russian propagandist, cited by social media users and pro-Kremlin media, does not contain information about the second capture. Also, there is no settlement with the name Mala Tavolzhanka, which is similar to the name Tavilzhanka, a village in the Dvorichanskyi settlement society of the Kupiansk district of the Kharkiv region. In addition, on August 23, on the Day of the State Flag of Ukraine, a fresh photo with Prokopenko appeared on the official pages of Azov.

Thus, the Russian propaganda is trying to sow panic and discouragement among the Ukrainian military and civilians. The enemy is trying to demoralize the Ukrainians. Earlier, we refuted the fake that the Kyiv-Pechersk Lavra will be populated by servicemen of the Azov battalion.

Message The purpose of the “special military operation” is the release of the Russian military from Ukrainian captivity

On August 15, Russian Defense Minister Serhii Shoihu spoke at the 11th Moscow Conference on International Security, where he stated that “one of the priority humanitarian tasks of a special military operation is the release of Russian servicemen from Ukrainian captivity”.

Special military operation (in Russian - SVO) is a term that has entered the dictionary of the Russian new language and is used to refer to Russia's armed aggression against Ukraine. That is, the war unleashed by the aggressor country Russia. To justify the crimes against the Ukrainian people, Russian propagandists have repeatedly noted that this “operation” is designed to save the Russian-speaking people who are experiencing oppression in Ukraine, to denazify Ukrainians.

The Russian military began to be captured in Ukraine after they had attacked the territory of our state and committed war crimes. Russian propaganda deliberately distorts the causes and consequences in order to divert attention from the real situation and the real motives of the war - the genocide of the Ukrainian people and the seizure of territories.

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.