A video is making the rounds online claiming Ukrainians are evading military mobilization en masse. The video, however, has nothing whatsoever to do with Ukraine. It was filmed six years ago in Kazakhstan back in May 2016 and it shows local security forces detaining a protester who participated in a demonstration against government proposed land reform. Ukraine’s Ground Forces Armed Command refuted charges that Ukrainians are massively evading military mobilization. In a recent press conference, the Command’s General Staff personnel Chief Roman Horbach said there were isolated cases of military duty evasion, however they were very few and did not impact in any way on Ukraine’s overall military capacity.
Social media users along with assorted Russian media are claiming that Ukrainians are massively evading military mobilization. As proof of these claims, they show a 19-second video in which a man is attempting to run away from several other men dressed in military fatigues and black balaclavas. The video subtitle reads: 4th mobilization wave. Scenes on city streets temporarily controlled by the Zelensky regime.”
Ukrainians are not evading military mobilization and the video Russian propagandists use to claim otherwise has was not filmed in Ukraine.
In early April, Oleksiy Arestovich, adviser to the Presidential Chief of Staff, stated that there the number of those willing to join the Ukrainian military to fight against Russian invaders is greater than the capacity to equip them for battle. In May, Ukraine’s Ground Forces Armed Command General Staff personnel chief Roman Horbach reported that there were people who evaded military duty, but these isolated cases are so insignificant as to have almost no effect on the overall picture of Ukraine’s military capacity. Presently, there is no summary information on the tracking of draft or mobilization evasion cases. However, this information is not classified – relevant news can be found in the media and on the websites of local prosecutors and it is clear from this anecdotal evidence that evasion of military duty is not widespread. For example, the Rivne regional prosecutor’s office reports that during the three months of war they had only seven cases of people evading military mobilization. On June 3, the press service of the Sambir District Prosecutor’s Office (Lviv province) reported that the office is investigating ten criminal cases against local residents for evading military service during mobilization.
As for the video used to seemingly document these fake claims of military service evasion, the footage has absolutely nothing to do with Ukraine. This video first appeared online in May, 2016 when it was shot in Kazakhstan. It shows local security forces trying to detain a protester who attended a demonstration against government proposed land reform.
Although Russian propaganda is spreading fakes claiming Ukrainians are evading military service, deserting or voluntarily surrendering to Russia, in fact it is Russian conscripts and soldiers as well as men from the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics who are massively refusing to take part in the Kremlin’s so-called special operation in Ukraine. Conflict Intelligence Team analysts note that from 20 to 40% of the Russian military personnel who were in battles in the Kyiv, Chernihiv and Sumy regions are refusing to go back to fight in Ukraine. Moreover, in Russia there are increasing reports of arson at military registration and enlistment offices and bribery attempts to get out of mobilization duty. At the moment, forced mobilization continues in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. Ukrainian intelligence reports that the occupying Russian authorities are not only constantly raising the age limit for the mobilized, but they are also canceling medical examinations for mobilized troops. Russian prisoners of war and Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics fighters have openly spoken about being sent to front without any preparation.
Earlier StopFake debunked Russian fakes claiming that Ukraine was planning to mobilize an army of one million people.