On November 8 Ukrainian and Russian media published stories claiming that the Ukrainian Health Ministry would no longer help cancer patients. Claiming that acting Health Minister Ulana Suprun announced the Ministry was closing down its cancer financial support program, they declared that the state would no longer be helping those suffering from cancer.

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Website screenshot Ukrainian news

The country refuses to help those suffering from cancer, the health minister refuses to pay for cancer care, declared sites such as ZIKKorrespondent, Strana, Ukrainski novyny, Capital and others.

Website screenshot ua.korrespondent

Website screenshot ua.korrespondent

Russian media followed suit with even more apocalyptic headlines, such as Ukraina.ru’s “Pay or die”, Russkaya vesna declared “Maydan victory: Health Ministry will no longer help those ill with cancer”, Ekonomika segodnya announced that Ukraine was “Like in Ancient Sparta”.

Website screenshot Ukraina.ru

Website screenshot Ukraina.ru

The original source for this fake story appears to be a regional Vinnytsia news source Informaciyna Vinnychyna in which Vinnytsia’s chief cancer specialist Volodymyr Shamray spoke about the possible closing of the Ministry’s cancer program while Suprun is cited as saying the Health Ministry will focus more on prevention rather than treatment.

The Ministry of Health responded to this fake story with a statement explaining that Ukraine was not  ending cancer programs financing, quite the opposite. Financing for cancer medicines for 2017 was sizably increased and the ministry’s cancer support was simply changing its name from program to measures.