Espreso. Global

Ukrainian observer exposes false claims of massive losses near Avdiivka

26 December, 2023 Tuesday
15:44

Recently, a false narrative has circulated online regarding catastrophic losses of Ukrainian defense forces near Avdiivka

Oleksandr Kovalenko, a military and political observer, debunked the Russian fake narrative.

Such misinformation is not uncommon, typically surfacing when occupying forces face difficulties on the front lines. In these situations, fake reports of significant Ukrainian armed forces casualties are disseminated, often through foreign individuals with dubious credentials or affiliations.

In this instance, the source of the misinformation was a Ukrainian figure named Vitaliy Bala, who falsely claimed that 108 Ukrainian soldiers had died near Avdiivka. Bala has been identified as a pseudo-sociologist since 2020 and aligned with pro-Russian interests.

Bala's emotional post lacked basic facts, alleging that over a hundred defenders of Avdiivka had died on their way home for Christmas in buses, having drawn lots beforehand to see who would spend the holidays with their families, and they did not make it, all of them were killed. And all because there are no cars, and the "evil" authorities are hiding the losses. Russian propaganda and pseudo-Ukrainian channels quickly seized upon the narrative, spreading it within the Ukrainian segment with the help of less discerning journalists.

The observer argues that the key issue lies not with Bala himself, but with the numerous journalists and individuals who propagated the unfounded claim through social media. Bala's post lacked specific details, such as the location, brigade involved, and the nature of the alleged attack.

“First of all, Vitaliy Baly's tearful post, pressing on pity, lacks specifics, where the "tragedy" happened (exact location, village, road), with which brigade, how (what was the strike on the column, artillery, missile, KAB bombs),” the observer highlighted.

Moreover, Bala's assertion that servicemen were selected for rotation through a random lottery contradicts the stringent process involved in such decisions. The absence of evidence or acknowledgment from Russian public platforms further discredits the claim.

“Second. More than a hundred people are being transported from the Avdiivka area in a slender column of buses. Are you serious? The issue of rotation in the Avdiivka area, especially now, is very strict, and each individual case is considered by the command in detail, as to whether there are good reasons for sending a serviceman on rotation,” Kovalenko explained.

He further stressed the fact that if Russian troops had indeed launched a strike on the convoy as claimed, they would have widely publicized it through various platforms, sharing objective control videos from UAVs that monitor such operations. Strikes on specific targets, especially without proper road reconnaissance, are not randomly conducted. Even in the case of launching an Iskander missile, the location is closely monitored.

However, there has been no such evidence or even rumors in Russian media. Despite their continuous complaints about Su-34s for days, there has been no mention of a supposed super-successful operation in the Avdiivka area. This lack of information raises doubts about the credibility of the alleged strike and reinforces the need for critical evaluation before accepting such claims.

Responsible journalists should have sought official statements from the Armed Forces of Ukraine (ZSU) General Staff rather than blindly sharing unverified information, the observer concludes. 

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s General Staff published a statement denying the claims. 

“The information in social media about 108 dead in one of the brigades in the Avdiivka sector on Christmas Eve is fake,” the statement said.

The General Staff urged those involved to practice information hygiene and verify information before publishing it.

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