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New details about the video of the exploded trench candle: what we found out

A lot of time has passed since our readers asked us to check the video of a trench candle torn apart by a cartridge, which raised many doubts. Unfortunately, we have not been able to establish for sure whether it is fake or not. However, a thorough investigation of the video's details revealed some interesting new facts, which we will share with you today.

It’s been over a month since our readers asked us to investigate a video featuring a trench candle shredded to pieces by a cartridge. The clip circulated with cosmic speed, triggering suspicions of a coordinated fake. Regrettably, we were unable to find any compelling evidence to affirm or debunk the information. Yet, our inquiry yielded significant insights, which we’ll divulge below.


 So, what’s all the fuss all about?

In the footage shared by Lesya Gordyuk, a volunteer from Sambir in the Lviv Region, a Ukrainian soldier displays a trench candle after a bullet detonated inside it, alongside the expelled bullet itself. The video garnered over 925,000 views, with 12,000 shares and nearly 2,000 comments.

“You could wake up as a 300th (military slang for ‘wounded’-ed). It’s fortunate he was in an espeshka,” remarks the voiceover, employing military jargon referring to an observation post (OP).

The source

Soldier Tokha Krai from Dnipro is credited as the video’s creator, as indicated on the page. According to him, there have been three such incidents in total. In each case, the bullets were found at the base of the can.

His post sparked heated debate, with mostly outrageous comments: “What kind of volunteer would do such a thing — melt a cartridge in a trench candle to harm a soldier?”   

But, some people expressed doubts, saying: “How can a cartridge be sealed within the candle? Or was it struck by enemy fire (the bullet wasn’t deformed, so it’s unlikely???).” Others suggested that the candle had inadvertently been placed atop the cartridge. 

However, in response to these comments, the soldier insisted that the cartridge had indeed been discovered at the bottom of the trench candle

Here’s what we discovered

In a statement to “Behind the News,” the video’s creator affirmed that he had filmed the incident personally. He attempted to trace the origin of the trench candle with the cartridge but failed, as they’re sent by volunteers from various locations. However, he added that such incidents had fortunately not recurred.

Tetiana Zaritska, head of the press service for the 25th Sicheslav Separate Airborne Brigade, where the video’s creator serves, informed us that no units had filed reports regarding this or similar incidents with the brigade command. Nonetheless, she promised to keep an eye on the situation. As for Toha Krai, she attested to “his positive character.”

Moreover, we shared the video with several soldiers serving in similar conditions, all of whom suggested that the bullet in the trench candle was likely a mere accident.

“The cartridge could have simply fallen out of the chamber when the candle was lit. The scratches on the bullet aren’t typical of a bullet coming out of the barrel but rather indicate that it broke free from the casing because there are some light scratches. The force of the detonation that shattered the can is also characteristic of a cartridge explosion,” explained a soldier who preferred to remain anonymous.

The military also recall other cases of “volunteer help” when soldiers were poisoned with food products or home-cooked meals. Therefore, they advise to be careful and not trust random people.

Where’s the danger? 

In the comments under Lesya Gordyuk’s post, people ask whether a bullet flying from a trench candle can really kill someone. They say that its speed is far too slow for this. And in general, can it explode? 

We interviewed several soldiers, an instructor, and a weapons expert. They all concurred on the video: the bullet could indeed pierce a tin can.

“The heat caused the powder in the cartridge case to explode, and the bullet flew out of the cartridge and pierced the can. A cartridge consists of a case with powder and a bullet. When a shot is fired, the capsule is struck, causing a flash of powder that energizes the bullet, which then flies out and hits the target,” explained Yaroslav Chepurny, spokesman for the 79th Separate Air Assault Brigade.

According to experts, such a bullet can really cause a lot of trouble. It all depends on how far away from the trench candle the soldier is standing. It could be either a trauma or an injury. But everyone is convinced that such a bullet could pierce the skin. 

One soldier noted that it could even kill someone if it hit a vital organ. The remaining respondents said that only an injury would result, as the bullet’s speed would be too slow to reach the internal organs; it would simply get “stuck” in the skin.

What to look out for?

The volunteers we interviewed say that it’s very difficult to trace who could have put the bullet in the tin can. After all, trench candles are collected in small batches from different people. However, everyone is convinced that an internal investigation should be conducted to find out whether the manufacturer of these candles or at least the volunteers, who handed them over, were at fault. 

In the future, they advise packing all candles separately and marking when and from whom they came. Then it will be easier to reject the entire batch if something happens to at least one candle. In general, the volunteers themselves need to be careful, accepting help only from trusted benefactors.

The question of the purpose of such provocations remains open. Rather, it may be carried out not so much to harm the military as to undermine the credibility of volunteers. It could also be a form of psychological pressure, as if saying that there are also traitors among the volunteers, and that the enemy has surrounded Ukrainian soldiers on all sides small logo

Prepared by Tetiana Shcherbatiuk.

As a reminder, we recently debunked a video where a Ukrainian soldier serving somewhere near Avdiivka allegedly found some sharp razor blades in pies. 

According to the video, he was treated to the pies by a local elderly woman. This is a fake!

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Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
01 / 01