FACT CHECK: Has The Russian Army Surrendered In Donetsk?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purports the Russian military surrendered all territory in the Donetsk Oblast of Ukraine.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that the Russians have surrendered in Donetsk. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared that Donetsk, along with three other Oblasts, is Russian territory.

Fact Check:

Putin announced that Russia would annex Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk and Zaporizhzhia following referendums that were condemned as shams by Western countries and Ukraine, according to NBC News. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy voted to retake more annexed areas following the liberation of the city of Lyman in September, Politico reported.

The Facebook video, which links to a YouTube video that has been viewed over 316,000 times, purports that Russian forces in Donetsk have completely surrendered. It also claims that a close friend of Putin’s was taken prisoner. (RELATED: Does This Video Show The Finnish-Russian Border After Vladimir Putin’s Speech?)

There is no evidence that the Russian military completely surrendered in Donetsk. The Institute for the Study of War’s Oct. 2 assessment shows that, while Ukrainian forces have made liberations in Lyman and eastward, they have not completely withdrawn from the region.

“Ukrainian forces continued to liberate settlements east and northeast of Lyman and have liberated Torske in Donetsk Oblast,” the assessment states. “Russian sources claimed that Russian forces withdrew from their positions northeast of Lyman, likely to positions around Kreminna and along the R66 Svatove-Kreminna highway.”

The assessment also states that Putin had submitted a draft law to the State Duma in regards to admitting the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics to the Russian Federation.

The post’s claim that a close friend of Putin’s was taken prisoner likely refers to Viktor Medvedchuk, a Ukrainian politician who is a confidant of the Russian president. Medvedchuk was taken prisoner in April and later exchanged back to Russia in a prisoner of war exchange, according to The New York Times.

Misinformation regarding the Ukraine-Russian conflict has occurred since the start of the war. Check Your Fact recently corrected an image claiming to show Russian Conscripts with outdated Mosin-Nagant rifles.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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