A video of Ukrainian dad crying and saying goodbye to his wife and daughter has gone viral on social media.
Take a look at the video, and find out what the facts really are!
Claim : Crying Ukrainian Dad Is Going Off To Fight Russians!
One of the most heart-wrenching videos to come out of the Russian invasion of Ukraine is a video of a Ukrainian father crying as he bid farewell to his wife and daughter.
It was shared by many media outlets as an example of Ukrainian fathers being forced to stay and fight against the Russians, while their families evacuate.
At that time, over 100,000 people fled Ukraine as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed a decree ordering a general mobilisation against the Russian invasion.
Truth : Crying Ukrainian Dad Was Not Going To Fight Russians!
Unfortunately, this heart-wrenching video was not of a Ukrainian dad staying to fight the Russians, and here is what we know so far…
Fact #1 : Video Was Originally Posted As Propaganda
As far as I can ascertain, the video was originally posted by the mayor of Gorlovka (Horlivka to Ukrainians), Ivan Prikhodko, as pro-Russian propaganda before it was ironically used by Ukrainian supporters.
He posted the video on VK (VKontakte), the Russian social media platform, on Monday, 21 February 2022, with this message :
Residents of Gorlovka are evacuated daily to Russia, fleeing Ukrainian aggression. Today we have witnessed the touching farewell of the head of the family to his wife and daughter, whom he saw off to Russia. The man remained in his city to defend the Donetsk Republic from the Armed Forces of Ukraine with weapons in his hands, with tears in his eyes.
Fact #2 : Video Was Taken In Donetsk, Not Kyiv
According to Prikhodko’s original VK post, the video was taken in the city of Gorlovka, not Kyiv (Kiev) – the capital of Ukraine.
Gorlovka, which is known as Horlivka to Ukrainians, is a major city in the Donetsk People’s Republic – a breakaway region of Ukraine currently under (indirect) Russian control.
Fact #3 : Man Was Allegedly Staying To Defend Donetsk
Prikhodko claimed that the man was staying to “defend the Donetsk Republic from the Armed Forces of Ukraine“.
It is unknown if this was a genuine video, or misappropriated for propaganda, since the Ukrainian Armed Forces was in no position to attack the Donetsk Republic. If they had the means, it would have happened during the last 8 years of the conflict.
It is also absurd to claim that the man wanted to defend Donetsk from the Ukrainians, when the Russians are the ones attacking Ukraine from the Donetsk Republic.
I should also point out that the Russians military forces had already entered Donetsk that very same day, and there was no mobilisation of men in the Donetsk Republic…
Fact #4 : His Wife + Daughter Were Evacuating To Russia
According to Prikhodko, the man’s wife and daughter were being evacuated to Russia. These evacuations actually started on 18 February 2022 – six days before Russia declared war on Ukraine.
That suggests that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already made the decision by then to attack Ukraine.
Fact #5 : Zelenskyy Ordered General Mobilisation At That Time
For certain, media outlets did not do an adequate job of confirming that this video was unrelated to the many similar videos and photos circulating on the Internet.
But we must also acknowledge that the video went viral when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky signed the mobilisation decree, which forbade men 18-60 years in age from leaving the country, while calling up all conscripts and reservists.
There are many videos and photos of Ukrainian men saying goodbye to their families who were evacuating cities across Ukraine. So it’s easy to see why this one slipped through.
Ukrainian Dad Video Faux Pas In A Sea Of Russian Misinformation
The Russian invasion of Ukraine triggered an onslaught of fake news and videos online, together with thousands of actual shells, rockets and missiles on Ukrainians.
That made it very difficult, if not impossible, for anyone to fact check every single video or claim that comes our way. More so when Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been greatly disrupted by the Russian invasion.
Chinese state media Global Times was quick to criticise Western media outlets for using this video to push a “doctored narrative“, and point out that none of them have “apologised for their mistake“.
The truth is – this video faux pas was a mistake, not an intentionally crafted piece of propaganda to mislead people.
It was also a rare mistake in an ocean of Russian and Chinese misinformation. The vast majority of fake news that I encountered pre-Ukraine invasion were Chinese in origin. And now, the Russians are stepping up.
Did Chinese state media like Global Times and CGTN apologies for the many “mistakes” they made? They would do well to look in the mirror before throwing stones.
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.
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