Top Russian Fakes of the Week about Ukraine

Instagram (3)

Fake #1: Photo Fake: Kyiv Residents Kneel before Biden

During US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Kyiv social networks and some pro-Russian websites posted a photo of people kneeling outside the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers building on Hrushevsky Street in Kyiv. The picture caption claimed that these were Kyiv residents “appealing to Biden to save them from Yatsenyuk”.

The photo appeared for the first time on December 6 in the LiveJournal blog of a user named petroreloii. Two days later the news agency Novorossia also ran this story.


In fact, the original the photo was taken on Hrushevsky Street on 18 January 2015 when thousands of people came to the center of Kyiv to pay tribute to the memory of the first victims of the clashes during Euromaidan.


Fake #2: United Nations Admits Presence of Islamists among Ukrainian Armed Forces

On November 27, the Russian television station Russia 24 broadcast a false news item stating that members of the terrorist organization “Islamic State” were fighting on the side of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Donbas region.

Russia 24 journalists claim that, according to the UN, “hundreds of Islamists” are fighting for the Right Sector Ukrainian Volunteer battalion.


No evidence was found that any UN official has alleged the presence of Islamists in the Right Sector or in any battalion of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine has no mention of any such claim on its official site. A thorough search of the United Nations website and a complete Google search failed to turn up any such allegation.

Furthermore, Russia 24 has also broadcast a complete lie about Ukrainian citizenship for foreign mercenaries after three years of military service.

On October 6, the Ukrainian parliament enacted a law that allowed foreigners to serve in the Ukrainian Army on a contractual basis. But the law does not provide the granting of Ukrainian citizenship after three years of service.

Ukrainian citizenship is regulated by the Law of Ukraine on Ukrainian Citizenship. According to this legislation, the President of Ukraine has the right to grant citizenship to those who have distinguished themselves in service to Ukraine and to those non-Ukrainian subjects, whose work or contribution is deemed in the country’s national interest (Article 9, Paragraph 6). The law does not guarantee citizenship for foreigners, fighting for the Ukrainian Army.

Fake #3: Ukrainian Soldiers in Syria

Russian media and the former Internal Affairs Minister of Ukraine, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, have resurrected a debunked story about Ukrainian soldiers being sent to Syria.


The former Ukrainian official wrote in a column for the Eurasia Daily website: “As it has been recently known from documents, which I got through unofficial channels, on October 13, 2015, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, headed by Oleksandr Turchynov, decided to send Ukrainian volunteer battalions to Syria to fight along with the armed Syrian opposition”. He also posted this information on Facebook.


The news was then reposted by News24UA and



The same fake information has already been debunked on October 26 when some Russian and pro-Russian media falsely reported that Ukrainian citizens would be trained to take part in hostilities in Syria. They based this information solely on a forged document.


On October 21, the separatist website News Front posted an alleged scan of an official document from Ukraine’s National Security and Defense Council. It states that the Council decided on October 13 (though the document itself is dated October 16) to train Ukrainian soldiers for volunteer battalions in order to send them to Syria to assist “opposition forces.” The document is allegedly signed by the Secretary of the Council, Oleksandr Turchynov, and addressed to the Internal Affairs Minister, the Defense Minister, and the commander of the volunteer Right Sector battalion.

The next day, posted an article entitled “Right Sector on the Way to Syria,” also basing its story on the document. The same article was then re-posted by Russkaya Pravda and

The document published by News Front, however, has several mistakes that prove that it is forged.


The surname of the Right Sector commander is misspelled. It should be “Стемпіцькому,” instead of “Стемпицькому”. The official name of Syria is the “Syrian Arab Republic,” not simply “Syrian Republic,” as it is written in the document. The text of the document also contains several phrases borrowed from the Russian language. The National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine did not hold meetings on October 13 and 16. Finally, the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine did not confirm the existence of such a document.

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