FACT CHECK: Video Claims Ukraine Encircled 170,000 Russian Troops

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims Ukraine encircled 170,000 Russian troops in its territory while also preventing any rescue efforts.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence that Ukraine has encircled a massive amount of Russian soldiers.

Fact Check:

Russia announced a 36-hour ceasefire with Ukraine during the Orthodox Christmas holiday, according to DW. Ukrainian leaders blasted the proposal as “hypocrisy” while actively asking for Russian troops to withdraw from the country, the outlet reported.

The Facebook video, viewed more than 14,000 times, claims that 170,000 Russian soldiers were encircled. The video’s caption reads, “Shocking News For Kremlin, 170000 Soldiers Facing Encirclement Russian Army Can Not Save Them.”

There is no evidence of this. If Ukraine had encircled 170,000 Russian troops, media outlets would have covered it, yet none have. Independent observers, such as the non-partisan think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), have not reported any mass encirclements of Russian troops in its most recent campaign reports either.

“Ukrainian forces continued counteroffensive operations toward Kreminna, where Russian forces continued counterattacks to regain lost positions. Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut, Donetsk City, and in western Donetsk Oblast. Russian forces continued defensive and rotational operations in Kherson and Zaporizhia oblasts,” ISW reported.

Russia had 150,000 troops in its initial invasion of Ukraine, according to The Washington Post. Since then, Russia has roughly doubled its forces with 300,000 conscripts, 40,000 prisoners recruited to fight for the Wagner Group, and 20,000 volunteers, the outlet reported.  (RELATED: Was Zelenskyy People Magazine’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’?)

Ukrainian forces did encircle thousands of Russian troops in the town of Lyman in October before they withdrew, according to The Wall Street Journal. But there is no evidence of a mass encirclement.

Misinformation around the Russian-Ukrainian war is not new. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin said that North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) could destroy Russia in three days.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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