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Are Zhytomyr military burying mobilised men alive? Fake video by Russian propagandists

Unfortunately, the video of an alleged soldier burying an unknown man alive is being actively shared by Ukrainians on social media. In reality, we are looking at a staged event, another fake by Russian propaganda. Today, let's look at some of the signs that point to this.

Don’t fall for it! This is a staged video by Russian propagandists. If you’ve already shared it, feel free to admit your mistake. Delete it and write a refutation… or share our post. 

A video making the rounds on social media depicts a man in a uniform, sporting a Ukrainian flag on his arm, who appears to be burying an unidentified individual in handcuffs alive in a cemetery. The accompanying text reads: “Zhytomyr soldiers teach mobilized men how to love.” 

A voice can be heard saying, “Well, you rat, you don’t want to fight!? We’ll bury you right here”; the man’s speech is interspersed with profanity. The viewer should understand the following story: the man with the shovel represents a recruitment officer, while the figure in the pit is a conscripted “evader.”

This is a staged video. 

In reality, this never occurred. What we’re witnessing is a fabrication by Russian propagandists, who are trying to demoralize Ukrainians, instill fear of their own military, and disrupt mobilization efforts. In other words, it’s a classic tactic of enemy disinformation and psychological warfare.

Several red flags point to this:
  • The posts disseminating the video lack specifics: no mention of when or where the alleged incident took place, or the identities of those in the footage;
  • The faces of the men are not visible;
  • Their behaviour seems staged, more akin to a game: the man in the pit is sitting neatly in a crouch, pulling his hood over his head to prevent the earth from getting into his eyes; the voice of the man with the shovel sounds unnatural, giving the impression that he’s reciting a previously learnt text; 
  • No independent and credible media outlets have reported on the event.
  • There’s no information about the author of the video;
  • There’s no information about who first posted the video on the Internet and why. 
  • Our investigation traced the video back to Russian anonymous propaganda resources on Telegram and VKontakte, including well-known hosts of kremlin-backed projects like SolovievLive.

The video was leaked with other things to Ukrainian social media by an online user. This individual, who hasn’t posted a single photo of himself in several years, floods his feed with jokes, conspiracy theories, soviet nostalgia, and, at times, narratives echoing russian propaganda. In addition, he shares 15-20 spam posts per day. 

Unfortunately, many Ukrainians, who commented under his post, sincerely believe that everything they see in the video is the truth and are strongly outraged. The fake video garnered nearly a thousand shares.

Organizations like the Centre for Countering Disinformation have refuted these falsehoods, labelling that “the video distributed by TG channels is staged and constitutes yet another fake by Russian propaganda to intimidate Ukrainian men and discredit recruitment officers and Ukrainian forces”.   However, they fail to provide any reasons for their conclusion.

We urge you to approach information critically. If a piece of news triggers an emotional response, please exercise caution and check it carefully. Do not trust anonymous media outlets without specifics. Every news story should have a trusted author behind it, and you should know the sources of such an event. Otherwise, refrain from sharing the story until you know the details small logo  

фактчекерка на всі крильця
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
01 / 01