Fact Check: Portraits Of Ukrainian War Dead Do NOT Show Child Soldiers


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: Portraits Of Ukrainian War Dead Do NOT Show Child Soldiers Manipulated

Did Ukraine conscript children who were born in 2005 or 2006 to fight and die on the frontline? No, that's not true: Portraits of soldiers killed in war have been digitally edited to reveal the faces of children along with edited banners indicating the children died in 2023 and were born in 2005 and 2006.

The appeared in a Hungarian language TikTok video (archived here), it was published by a social media influencer, Adorjan Lukacs on July 19, who says:

The internet is swarmed with photos of Ukrainian children who were born in 2005 and 2006 and fell on the Ukrainian frontline. It's hair-raising to read the comments: they are still arguing if the right wing or the left wing or Russia or Ukraine is right while children are conscripted and dying.

(Translated from Hungarian by Lead Stories Staff)

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

adorjan jo.JPG

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Jul 21 07:00:50 2023 UTC)

The photos show grave sites with portraits of young men in military clothes. The pictures look edited and they have been circulating online since around mid-July, 2023.

With the help of Google Lens, Lead Stories found an exact match for an edited photo claiming to show the graveside portrait of a child named Mykola Vlodimirov Zakharchuk, with a banner claiming his death on May 15, 2023, and birth on September 7, 2006, which would make him 17 years old. The match shows a similar portrait with the exact lighting, composition, and precisely identical floral arrangement of a veteran soldier killed in the war named Dmytro Rafalsky posted by his brother on Instagram.

According to the photo Dmytro Rafalsky died on October 17, 2022. There is a little pinkish area above the red flower on Dmytro's portrait which is identical to the same part of the photo featured in the TikTok - that might be an editing error. Also, Rafalsky's photo mirrors the surrounding flowers while the fabricated photo does not.

ukran sir kulonbseg.jpg

The second photo featured in the TikTok post also appears digitally manipulated. Using a reverse image search, Lead Stories found an article in a local newspaper about the funeral of Maksym Lazoryshyn, a 22-year-old Ukrainian soldier who died near Kramatorsk and was buried on 23 January 2023 in Kalusa. The photo of his grave portrait is clearly the original version of the photo featured in the TikTok post.

ukran sir kulonbseg 2.jpg

The source of the third photo is still unclear.

Similar photos and claims have been debunked by Lead Stories before. Conscripting underage people is illegal in Ukraine and there is no credible evidence proving that it happened recently.


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