FACT CHECK: Did Russia Start Retreating From Donetsk Oblast?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Russia started retreating “en masse” from Donetsk Oblast.

Verdict: Misleading

While the Russians have lost some territory in the Donetsk Oblast, such as Lyman, to Ukrainian counteroffensives, they are continuing offensive operations in the region.

Fact Check:

Russia withdrew from the northern Kherson region Nov. 11 following a Ukrainian counteroffensive, according to UkrInform. Due to recent gains by Ukrainian forces, forces are considering a strike in Crimea, which is a disputed territory between Russia and Ukraine, Associated Press reported.

The Facebook video claims Russian troops were beginning to retreat “en masse” from the Donetsk Oblast. The video’s title reads, “Finally-Russian troops retreating en masse from Donetsk! I Counter-Attack from the Ukrainian Army!” (RELATED: Does This Photo Show A Gepard Tank Firing At The Sky In Ukraine?)

However, there is no evidence that the Russians have retreated “en masse” from the Donetsk Oblast. If Russia started a mass retreat in the region, media outlets would have covered it, similar to the Kherson withdrawal, but none have. Neither the Russian Ministry of Defense nor the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has released statements confirming the withdrawal of Russian forces from the region.

Furthermore, Russia has continued offensive operations against Ukraine in the Donetsk Oblast, according to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). ISW’s Nov. 26 campaign assessment reported that “Russian forces continued to conduct offensive operations in the Avdiivka-Donetsk City,” as well as conducting defensive operations in western Donetsk.

It is true that Russia has lost territory in the oblast. The Russians withdrew from Lyman in early October due to the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the northeast, and the Ukrainians are continuing offensive operations in Luhansk, according to ISW.

Misinformation regarding the Russian-Ukrainian conflict has been widespread since its start in February 2022. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video that allegedly showed a Ukrainian strike on a Russian bridge.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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