The Armed Forces of Ukraine are mobilizing only Russian speakers in the southeast, so that once they are dead Kyiv can bring Ukrainian speakers from western Ukraine to these depopulated areas, reads a propaganda narrative disseminated by the Russian government media. In fact, losses on the battlefield prove that the army comprises many servicemen from western Ukraine, and the percentage of eastern recruits have gone up due to their resistance to Russia’s large-scale invasion.
NEWS: “According to a decree signed by president Volodymyr Zelensky, a total mobilization is taking place in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking regions, the representative of the Russian special services in Kherson has told RIA Novosti, quoting Ukrainian army sources […] The mobilization is unfolding only in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking regions – Mykolaiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Cherkasy.
Therefore, Kyiv is thus trying to get rid of the Russian-speaking population in southeastern Ukraine which might pose a threat, the aforementioned source has told the agency.
Acting on the recommendation of its Anglo-Saxon coordinators, the Zelensky regime is liberating these territories to make room for people brought over from western Ukraine”.
NARRATIVE: Kyiv has launched a genocide of Russian-speaking men. The Armed Forces are not recruiting people from western Ukraine.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: This propaganda narrative is also published in the Russian print press under the headline “Galicians are not conscripted”. Various YouTube videos were launched, speaking of the genocide targeting Russian speakers. The Russian media claims there is no mobilization in western Ukraine, and Kyiv is drafting only Russian speakers in order to get rid of them. Nationalist Galicians from western Ukraine are expected to be brought to depopulated areas, according to the plan of “the Anglo-Saxon coordinators of Zelensky’s administration”.
In fact, for a long period of time, the Ukrainian army had to rely on volunteers and servicemen born in western Ukraine. Over 2014-2022, armed clashes in Donbas have killed many western Ukrainians who volunteered to fight in the war. Furthermore, the number of people enrolled in the west and the east was a major topic for debate in Ukrainian society and media in recent years. People in western Ukraine failed to understand why Ukrainian-speaking men were volunteering to enroll, whereas those in the east were more often than not dodging conscription. There are constant disparities in this respect: the number of people in the nationalist west who are willing to fight is much higher than in the east, while Russian speakers exceed Ukrainian speakers three or four to one!
For this reason, after Russia launched its large-scale invasion of Ukraine, Kyiv decided to compel internally displaced men to sign up at nearby military enlistment offices a few days after settling in. This registration is not tantamount to a mandatory conscription, although it allows Kyiv to make an assessment of its own human resources potential for this war. The decision has put people’s minds at ease, reducing the abovementioned disparities to a minimum.
However, the Russian media used Kyiv’s decisions to build various propaganda narratives, according to which internally displaced men are persecuted, sent to the frontline, while women are left without any form of protection. Furthermore, these people are treated with hostility when they reach different areas of Ukraine and are even fined for alleged offenses, fabricated by the authorities. Veridica has debunked such propaganda narratives.
An overview of the main regional news agencies in western Ukraine shows that every day these agencies run obituaries of Ukrainian servicemen killed in the war, which means that many people from western Ukraine continue to fight as part of the Armed Forces.
Admittedly, the percentage of Russian speakers fighting in the Ukrainian army has also gone up, but this is because, unlike the 2014-2022 war in Donbas, this time Russian speakers enrolled in larger numbers to fight off the large-scale aggression of the Russian Federation. According to a study, at least half of Ukrainian servicemen speak Russian, switching to Ukrainian when necessary. At the same time, according to a different survey, a third of Russian speakers have switched to Ukrainian after Russia invaded Ukraine. These linguistic differences have become rather symbolical and lost political importance after the invasion of Ukraine.
Veridica has debunked several false narratives published by Russian media regarding the mobilization in Ukraine. According to Russian propaganda, Ukraine’s unemployed will be drafted and sent to the front, whereas the Ukrainian army rewards Ukrainians who trick their friends into enrolling. In May, the Russian media wrote that Ukraine is mobilizing one million people, paying for the West’s loans with human lives. More propaganda narratives followed, according to which the EU will deport to Ukraine refugee men in order to be enrolled in the Ukrainian army, while volunteers are enrolling in pro-Russian battalions that will defend southeastern territories against the Ukrainian army.