FACT CHECK: Did 80,000 Ukrainian Troops Besiege The Russians In Donetsk?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims 80,000 Ukrainian troops started to besiege the Russians in the Donetsk region.

Verdict: False

While the Ukrainians are on the offensive in Luhansk, multiple independent assessments show that the Russians are on the offensive in the Donetsk.

Fact Check:

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the United States and spoke before a joint meeting of Congress, according to NBC News. There he thanked the U.S. for its support and asked for more continued support from Congress, the outlet reported.

The Facebook video, viewed more than 13,000 times, claims that 80,000 Ukrainian troops have started to besiege the Russians in the Donetsk region. The video’s title reads, “Face to Face Battles Begin: 80,000-man Ukrainian Army Besieged Russian Troops in ‘Donetsk’!”

There is, however, no evidence that the Ukrainian military is besieging the Russians in Donetsk. If 80,000 Ukrainian troops were on the offensive, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. Zelenskyy did not state that the Ukrainian military was surrounding the Russians in the Donetsk during his Dec. 21 speech, according to a transcript published by The New York Times.

Independent assessments and maps show that the Ukrainians are not on the offensive in the Donetsk region. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW), a non-partisan think tank, wrote Dec. 21 that “Russian and Ukrainian forces continued counterattacks along the Svatove-Kreminna line. Russian forces continued offensive operations in the Bakhmut and Donetsk City areas.”

The pro-Russian Telegram channel, Rybar, published a map showing that Ukrainian and Russian troops were fighting across all of the Donetsk region. Other independent researchers and reporters, such as DefMon3 and NoelReports, show that the Russians are attacking in the region.

A map from the United Kingdom Ministry of Defense also indicates that the Russians are on the offensive in the Donetsk region. (RELATED: Did Ukraine Sentence A Man To 15 Years In Prison For Displaying A Russian Flag?)

This claim was first debunked by Lead Stories, though claims regarding the status of the conflict have circulated since its start in February 2022. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video allegedly showing a Russian ammo depot exploding.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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