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Disinformation is disseminated in social networks and on pro-Kremlin websites vis-à-vis Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. In particular, one publication contains a photograph resembling an official document which reads: “On 16 August 2022, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, reported to the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, that losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine amount to 76,640 service members.”

Comments to the photograph of the “document” are as follows:

“Losses of the Armed Forces of Ukraine since the beginning of the special operation – more than 76,000 troops killed. It was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force of Ukraine himself, General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, who reported this to the Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council, Oleksiy Danilov, on 16 August 2022 in his letter №220/1085. On top of the 76,640 killed service members, total casualties include over 42,000 wounded, 7,244 prisoners, 2,816 missing and 1,610 non-combat deaths.

Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief also added that he had not number of fatalities from other bodies of security apparatus. This means that in addition to 76,000 deaths in the Armed Forces of Ukraine, casualties from territorial defence, the national guard, the border service, Ukraine’s Security Service and thousands more deaths should be added to the tally.

Therefore, the total number of deaths should be around 150,000.”

In fact, this “secret document,” circulating in social networks is fake. The Ministry of Defence of Ukraine said it was a forgery. As stated by the Deputy Minister of Defence, Hanna Malyar: “Fake news was generated by absolutely unknowledgeable people who have never seen how our real documents look. This is a very crude forgery. There is nothing to explain.”

People working on this fake news made numerous primitive mistakes both in the text and design of the “secret document.” In particular, the document was on the letterhead of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, headed by Oleksey Reznikov. However, the signature on the “document” belongs to the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. Another mistake is about the names of Ukraine’s military formations. It is not acceptable to write “armed forces” in official documents. The official name should be the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

In addition, as identified by Ukrainian fact-checkers, the fake document also contains certain linguistic errors such as “a number or grammar and punctuation mistakes which indicate a low-level forgery. Several gross inaccuracies in the text and the unfamiliarity with the structure of the Armed Forces of Ukraine clearly indicate that the “document” was produced by an amateur who has no clue about the military-political structure of the country.”

FactCheck would like to remind its readers that the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, stated on 22 August 2022 that nearly 9,000 Ukrainian soldiers have died in action since the beginning of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine.

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This article was produced as part of Facebook’s Fact-checking Programme. Given the rating, Facebook may impose different restrictions – click here for full information. For information on issuing a correction or to dispute a rating, please see here.


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