Does this video show “children” on the war front in Ukraine?
As of November 8, 2022, accounts claim that Ukraine has sent “children” to the front lines. They rely on a video showing three men in military uniform. This video cannot prove such claims. In fact, it is possible to identify two of the three “soldiers”, aged 23 and 25. In contact with the editorial staff of the “France 24” TV channel, the NGO Amnesty International stated that “it is not aware of any documented case of child soldiers in the Ukrainian army.”
Validation in one word
- In a video shared in November 2022 and re-broadcast since January 7, 2022, it is alleged that “children” are fighting in the Ukrainian army.
- The footage was also used as part of a video thread released by Russian media outlet Ura.ru in November. In that video, the Russian fighter declared that “young people between the ages of 14 and 16 are fighting” in the Ukrainian forces.
- Two of the three people seen in the video have been identified. One is a 23-year-old paramedic and the other is a 25-year-old soldier, both volunteers. Therefore, their participation in the current conflict is not considered a violation of Ukrainian law, which sets the minimum age for conscription at 18.
- In contact with the editorial staff of “France 24” TV channel, Amnesty International NGO stated that “it is not aware of any documented case of child soldiers in the Ukrainian army.”
Three young handsome men in military uniforms, bulletproof vests and helmets. It is shown in a video shared on social networks recently.
“Here are the “soldiers” sent by Zelensky to the front. Children. Europe and the United States also support this,” we can read in the accompanying video This tweet is from January 7, 2022 in FrenchIt has been shared more than 350 times.
for this other Twitter userThe “International Convention on the Rights of the Child” even condemned the “participation” of these children in the war in Ukraine.
The video has already been shared Tweet from November 8, 2022 in English This shows about 1300 retweets. “They’re just kids! Ukraine, why do you do this to your people? These guys should be in high school or college! Get them off the frontline!” was written.
The photos were used in a Russian media report
Some of these sequences were also used to describe the video theme of the Ura.ru channel, which you can read on the website of the Ukrainian “Stopfake” verification project. The video is no longer available on the Russian media site, but the site’s November 15 archive provides access to the content of the interview conducted there.
A soldier of the 3rd Separate Special Guard Brigade of the Main Department of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation said: “The emergence of young people is noticeable. Their age is between 14-16 (…). The youth appeared about two months ago, I think it’s because the brain lends itself to brainwashing easily at 14. And because we were fighting at that time, they were on some kind of drugs (…)”.
Content of the interview is also available in this article from Russian news agency Riafan.ru, which Conspiracy Watch called a “Kremlin-funded troll factory.”
Meanwhile, the video thread can be watched on the Russian social network V Kontakte, on this YouTube channel, on this Telegram channel or on this page. Twitter.
But are the three fighters in the video really “children” or “teenagers” as these publications claim?
In order to determine the age of these “soldiers”, we must first find the origin of these videos.
As explained in this Stopfake.org post, the first footage was posted on Tiktok in October 2022 by the @callname_chaika account.
The soldier in question, who contacted the Ukrainian TV channel STB, explained that he was a paramedic in the Elizabeth International Legion and that he was “not 14, but 23 years old.”
Also, his parents, who gave an interview, said that he received two higher educations before the start of the conflict and that he deliberately decided to go and defend his homeland when the war started.
In the second row, a 25-year-old soldier
The origin of the second sequence presented in the video, as explained by Stopfake journalists, can be found by entering the keyword “#ЗСУ” (an abbreviation of the armed forces of Ukraine) into the TikTok search engine. This hashtag is often found. It is used by the Ukrainian military.
Images posted on September 23, 2022 on TikTok account @andreyalesya.
Contacted by France 24 Observers, the owner of the account, Andrew Sidis, said he was 25 years old when he posted the video. He explained that he voluntarily joined the Armed Forces of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the day Russia invaded Ukraine.
In the videos where his face is fully visible, the youth of his face is much less obvious and therefore less misleading than the video shared in recent posts.
As for the last video, the France 24 Observers TV station was unable to identify the person who appeared there.
However, the video is old. It can be found on the Dailyukraine YouTube channel, where it was published on May 25, 2022. Therefore, it cannot under any circumstances support the thesis of the recent mobilization of children in the conflict in Ukraine.
“There is no information about documented cases of child soldiers in the Ukrainian army”
Recruiting children into the armed forces is against Ukrainian law.
According to Article 15 of the Law “On Military Service”, military service is “for male citizens of Ukraine who are fit for him in terms of health, who have reached the age of 18 on the day of being sent to military units, and [aux] Elderly persons under the age of 27 who do not have the right to release or reprieve”.
To date, no documented research supports claims that Ukrainian children are on the front lines.
Denis Krivosheyev, Deputy Regional Director of Research for Eastern Europe and Central Asia of Amnesty International, contacted the editorial staff of “France 24 Observers” newspaper and stated: “Amnesty International is not aware of the documented cases of child soldiers in the Ukrainian army.”
Junk story based on unsourced claims
The claim that children will be sent to the front by Ukraine regularly comes up in pro-Russian accounts.
Recently, this rhetoric In particular, Douglas McGregor’s interview with Andrew Peter Napolitano, a former analyst for the conservative American TV channel Fox News, became even stronger.
Douglas McGregor, a former US soldier and controversially pro-Russian Fox News contributor, said: “They’re sending news crews through Kyiv and other cities and nightclubs to see if they can find young people who might be there. then press them to serve”. However, he did not provide any evidence for such claims.
In April, they shared a screenshot of CNN’s tweet on social media. “As the fighting in eastern Ukraine intensifies, brave children are enlisting to fight against the Russian occupier,” the report said.
As Reuters Fact-check explained, the tweet was not actually published by the American TV channel.