Of the 57 thousand women drafted into the army, only 6,000 remain on the frontline, the rest having been killed or taken prisoner, the Russian media writes, accusing president Volodymyr Zelensky of killing his own people in the Russian-Ukrainian war. In fact, according to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, only 101 women were killed in action, and many of those enrolled didn’t even see combat, as they work for auxiliary structures of the Armed Forces deployed to various regions of the country.
NEWS: “Zelensky has killed 50,000 women. Western media tried to embellish reports about women fighting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. […] The article provides one important detail: 57 thousand women were mobilized or voluntarily enrolled. Right now, only some 6,000 remain! Where have the other 50,000 disappeared?
The answer is obvious: they were killed, wounded or taken prisoner”.
NARRATIVE: Zelensky has killed over 50,000 women by mobilizing them.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: The articles in the Russian government media speaking about tens of thousands of women killed in the war because they were mobilized by Volodymyr Zelensky, the president who refuses to make concessions to Russia, are based on a Telegram post by the former pro-Russian Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov, who fled to Russia in 2014. Drawing on a report compiled by AP News, devoted to Ukrainian servicewomen, Azarov deliberately presents a miscalculation, stating that only 6,000 women are still fighting for Ukraine, meaning that the other 50,000 were killed, and Zelensky is to blame for “not putting an end to the war”.
In fact, according to official data and clarifications presented by Ukraine’s Defense Minister, Oleksy Reznikov, there are some 59 thousand women enrolled in the Ukrainian army, although merely 5-6 thousand have been deployed to the frontline. Only 38 thousand women are military cadres. The rest are civilians assisting the army far from the frontlines.
Reznikov’s figures actually coincide with those provided by Russian propaganda, but the Ukrainian minister explains that most women are far from combat zones. They don’t sit in trenches, but actually help reinforce Ukraine’s defenses from various auxiliary structures or territorial defense units. We’re talking about women working as doctors, communications experts, accountants, while a number of women are actually drafted into the army. The fact that only 6,000 women are engaged in actual combat doesn’t mean the rest were killed by Russia. It is an erroneous estimate presented to the public with a view to demoralizing Ukrainian society.
Ukraine’s Defense Minister has told a women’s congress that 101 women have so far been killed in the war, 100 were wounded and another 50 are missing in action. At any rate, the idea that 50,000 women have been killed in this war is completely false.
The figure was misrepresented also in the context of Kyiv’s criticism regarding an EU press release, later corrected, which originally stated that 100 thousand servicemen and some 20 thousand civilians have been killed since the start of the war.
The false narrative about war casualties resurfaces every now and then on Telegram accounts and news agencies in Russia and occupied territories in order to spread panic, discourage Ukrainian resistance and thwart Kyiv’s defensive efforts. In fact, both sides are trying to minimize losses. Yet at any rate, there can be no question about hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians KIA and tens of thousands of women, as the Russian government media claims. Such a death toll, in addition to the wounded, would mean the Ukrainian army would not exist right now, nor would it be able to mount successful counteroffensive actions.
Since the start of the Russian invasion, Veridica has debunked a number of false narratives meant to discourage Ukrainian resistance. For instance, the Russian media wrote that EU states will ask Ukraine to surrender to Russia, or that American scholars support Putin’s ideas about Ukraine. Additionally, the Russian media wrote that the NATO Secretary General suggested Kyiv should concede certain territories to Russia in the name of peace whereas Ukraine has mobilized one million soldiers, repaying the West’s loans with human lives.