Fake: the video shows not the military, but lyceum students commemorating the Holodomor victims
No, the video does NOT depict teenage soldiers. No, they are NOT being sent to war. In fact, the video shows students of the Cadet Corps of the State Boarding Lyceum paying tribute to the victims of the Holodomor.
In the video footage circulating on social media and trashy websites, teenagers dressed in winter uniforms can be seen solemnly holding candle-pills while standing with bowed heads on a parade ground. The melody of “Plyve Kacha” sets the backdrop. The caption covering the image reads:
“Ukrainian soldiers are going to the front. These are children!!! Funeral music, and you’re sitting at home waiting for victory at such a price.” Such narratives proliferate across platforms like TikTok and Facebook (translation from russian by Behind the News).
We also see similar narratives on russian propaganda websites:
“The Kyiv regime is sending another batch of teenagers to the slaughterhouse,” (in russian)
and even in the English-language segment of X social media:
While war criminal Zelenskyy begs the US Congress for funds intended for a new counter-offensive, teenagers are preparing to die so that these new loans are justified” (in English).
and also in the Netherlands:
“Sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds (!) are now being sent to the frontlines as cannon fodder,” (in Dutch).
In total, hundreds of thousands have viewed the video. It also arrived and spread across the Ukrainian information field. Moreover, judging by the level of emotion in the comments section, Ukrainian readers took it as gospel truth:
“These are your children, damn it. Burn in hell, all of you ! These are children who should live and know no grief. Oh, dear God, save the lives of all our countrymen.”
“What military!? These are children, and you’re sending them to their deaths. Children, may God protect you. And you bastards will burn in hell for sending children to their deaths.”
But, this is a blatant fake.
The video captures students from the Cadet Corps of the Ivan Kharytonenko State Boarding Lyceum with Enhanced Military and Physical Training in Khmelnytskyi honouring the memory of Holodomor victims.
Setting the record straight, we undertook a straightforward investigation. Firstly, we took several screenshots of the fake video. A Google image search led us to a publication on the Khmelnytskyi website vsim.ua from last year, highlighting a court ruling that deemed the transfer of the Cadet Corps from Sumy to Khmelnytskyi illegal.
The accompanying image showcases lyceum students on a parade ground. By comparing these photos with the dubious video, we confirmed their similarity. The building’s facade, windows, roof, and a white extension adorned with a Ukrainian flag serve as undeniable markers. Additionally, the same building features prominently on the lyceum’s Facebook page.
In this way, we discovered the location where the fake newsmakers shot the video.
Then we stopped playing detective and turned directly to the National Academy of the State Border Guard Service, which oversees the lyceum, for clarification regarding the video’s context and origin.
They confirmed that the claims below the video were fake. The individuals depicted are not military personnel, but students of the Cadet Corps of the State Boarding Lyceum participating in the all-Ukrainian initiative “Light a Candle of Memory” to commemorate the victims of the Holodomor.
Further evidence supporting this fact emerged from an Instagram post dated November 25, 2023, on the lyceum’s page. The very same students featured in the video are seen holding identical candle-pills, their heads bowed in solemn remembrance.
“Students of the State Border Guard Service Lyceum joined the ‘Light a Candle of Memory’ campaign. By lighting a candle on Holodomor Remembrance Day, we take part in honouring the memory of tragic historical events that should live on in our hearts. Eternal memory to all those who perished during the terrible genocide of the Ukrainian people!” the post reads