This week Russian media were awash with stories claiming the Ukrainian military had suffered heavy losses while trying to further their positions in the eastern Ukrainian Donbas conflict zone. They cite self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) press spokesman Danyil Bezsonov, who claims that Ukraine lost nine men and strategic territory. The DNR also issued a video claiming that Ukrainian military command had abandoned its soldiers during this latest operation.
Bezsonov’s claims are presented as a text statement on the DNR army website. There is no evidence presented to substantiate his claims that nine Ukrainian servicemen were killed and five wounded. He further claims that the Ukrainian side lost a dominant high position near a village called Chigari.
Ukrainian forces meanwhile have not reported heavy losses, fighting has been intensive in the conflict zone this week and one soldier was killed on May 12. Local area residents also report that the Ukrainian military has pushed back Russian supported separatists and gained some territory. And the video of allegedly abandoned Ukrainian soldiers, according to the Ukrainian military, is also a fake.
Vesti, RIA Novosti, Zvezda, Izvestia, NewsFront, Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Ukraina.ru, Life.ru, Komsomolskaya Pravda, Tsargrad, REN TV, Svobodnaya Pressa, Versii.com, Pravdorub, Federalnoye Agentstsvo Novostey, Kharkov and other Kremlin oriented sites dutifully disseminated this fake.
According to the Ukrainian military’s press office, one soldier was critically wounded and died during fighting on May 12. On May 11 and 13, Ukraine did not report any casualties in the fighting in the occupied Donbas regions.
Ukraine’s military and volunteers groups that bring supplies to the Ukrainian forces right up to the front lines as well as local residents all report that Ukrainian forces have reclaimed the village of Chigari. As for that high point that the DNR press officer claims the Ukrainian side lost, well, it’s actually a slag heap from a decommissioned coal mine. The Donbas coal basin is filled with hills that are really slag heaps that have been planted with grass and trees in an effort to make them environmentally friendly.