Aid to the

An old photo of a soldier with a weapon lying in the mud

A photo of a serviceman lying in the mud and heating up a stew is shared on social media. The photo contains a caption such as "You see the conditions our military are in today, thanks to which we can sit on Facebook and drink coffee". Our research has shown that this is actually an old photo, published for the first time in 2016. We also warn you that the caption "Eastern Ukraine" may be Russian propaganda, so you should be careful when reading such posts. It is possible that you are looking at another fake news and manipulation by the aggressor. The illustration was previously used in various disinformation campaigns, including a post by a user under the name "Solomiya Ukrainets" about the terrible Ukrainian government.

An image is circulating on social media: a soldier, lying in the mud, curled up in a ball, heating up some stew. The caption reads: “Thanks to these Heroes, we drink coffee, go to work, and scroll through Facebook. Thanks to them, we celebrate all the holidays with our families.” Our readers are requesting to uncover the origins of the photo.

It’s an old photo. Using the Tineye service, we discovered its first online appearance on November 21, 2016, hosted on imgur, an online platform for downloading, storing and sharing images. 

The original caption reads: “Morning at the front line. Ukrainian soldiers, Eastern Ukraine, war zone.”

It’s worth noting that the choice of words -“Eastern/Western Ukraine” — carries subtle connotations. While “East/West Ukraine” is the norm in the country, the former phrasing is commonly used by russian propagandists, creating an illusion of division.

The sentiment expressed about these soldiers as heroes is true to some extent. Unless we consider the general perception that is emotionally imposed on us: these soldiers are often left to fend for themselves, lacking proper supplies and ammunition. All the while, the rest of us enjoy the comforts of home, happily celebrating New Year’s.

But, this isn’t the first time this image has been used to illustrate a cause. Back in 2018, a notorious Facebook user, Solomiya Ukrainets, expressed traitorous, but empty words with a similar sentiment:

“This is how our soldiers are sleeping tonight… They don’t complain about the difficult conditions, they don’t demand high pay, they don’t wait for holidays. They’re simply defending Ukraine… Meanwhile, 450 deputies — well-fed, indifferent and arrogant — hide behind their mandate and bask in expensive resorts…”

Earlier, we told you that the person called “Solomiya Ukrainets”, who spreads such posts, does not actually exist. It’s a community that collects “likes” by publishing patriotic pictures, Ukrainian landscapes, posts about heroes, and poetry. But, in the midst of all this “beauty”, this person promotes disinformation, anti-Semitism, sentiments about how “everything is lost”, “the third Maidan” and “shooting those rich hucksters”. 

Yet, the photo was used not only by bots and gullible individuals. It even found its way into the official channels of the information agency of the Ministry of Defense — ArmyInform — published during the times of the full-scale invasion.

So, on page 21 of the agency’s digest, we encounter the image once more, albeit cropped, accompanying an article titled “How to fall asleep quickly and sleep well in combat conditions”. The photo illustrates the recommended sleeping position for soldiers — “it’s advisable to sleep in the fetal position on your side. Left-handed people should sleep on their right side, and right-handed people should sleep on their left side.”

 However, details such as the author, date, and location of the photo are not specified small logo

Prepared by Serhiy Odarenko.

Сергій Одаренко
Сергій Одаренко
редактор По той бік новин
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
01 / 01