Disinformation that the Olena Zelenska Foundation is involved in Ukrainian Child Trafficking

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Olena Zelenska

On May 31, 2024, Georgian-language Facebook users published posts (1, 2) accusing Ukrainian First Lady Olena Zelenska of taking children from Ukrainians and selling them to British pedophiles. According to the author of the post, investigative journalist Jonathan Hill published the information in The Austin Crier newspaper.

zelenska1 Disinformation that the Olena Zelenska Foundation is involved in Ukrainian Child Trafficking zelenska2 Disinformation that the Olena Zelenska Foundation is involved in Ukrainian Child Trafficking

The accusation voiced against Olena Zelenska is false. Initially, the mentioned information was spread by Russian and French propaganda sites and it was mainly based on fake journalists and witnesses. Olena Zelenska’s Foundation is actually engaged in charity work and helps children and families affected by war in various humanitarian ways.

Russian and French-language propaganda outlets accused Olena Zelenska of kidnapping children and selling them to pedophiles in Western countries as early as November 2023. In the articles, affected parents told stories of how their children were allegedly taken away by the Zelenska Foundation to take them to a safer place. In the investigation, there were also records of the persons who claimed to have participated in the process of abduction and transfer of children. According to one person, she gave the children to another person near Dolphin Square in London. It should be noted that the London police investigated this issue for 18 months, but they could not find any evidence to prove it.

According to the Bulgarian fact-checking organization, the claim was first published by the French-language website Netafrique, and later the same text was published by the Senegalese media Senenews. The article was also published by the famous propaganda website Intel Drop, of which Myth Detector wrote in the past as well. In all cases, the claims were based on a journalistic investigation by French journalist Robert Schmidt and a video in which an unidentified person calling himself Zelenska’s driver accused the first lady of child trafficking and sexual abuse. It should be noted that there is a journalist with the same name, although he has not published any material on the mentioned topic.

zelenska3 Disinformation that the Olena Zelenska Foundation is involved in Ukrainian Child Trafficking
Robert Schmidt’s video on YouTube

Noteworthy that in November 2023, various media outlets published articles that used Schmidt’s YouTube video as a source (the video can no longer be found on YouTube today). The articles were mostly written by fictional authors. The article that the Georgian language uses as a source is authored by Jonathan Hill, who has only one published article, and no information about him is found on the website. The false accusation was also actively spread in Telegram groups.

Kremlin propaganda often uses a method where articles are published by dubious foreign websites and mostly rely on anonymous sources who pretend to be employees of a particular company, but hide their faces in videos. Information that the Olena Zelenska Foundation was involved in child trafficking has been circulating in the past as well, which was verified by the fact-checking organization Stopfake.

About the Olena Zelenska Foundation

The Olena Zelenska Foundation was established on September 22, 2022. Its main mission is to help children affected by the war in Ukraine. The foundation takes care of children’s mental and physical health and also provides them with the opportunity to continue their education.

The Olena Zelenska Foundation participates in such activities as the reconstruction of the hospital destroyed by Russia in Izium, the rehabilitation of educational institutions and shelters destroyed by the war, and others. The Zelenska Foundation is not involved in taking children to safe places at all.

For the purposes of transparency, the fund actively cooperates with the influential organization Ernst & Young and annually prepares a report for people and partners to make it clearer for what purposes the fund’s money was spent.

zelenska4 Disinformation that the Olena Zelenska Foundation is involved in Ukrainian Child Trafficking
The First Lady and her team visited a family-type orphanage in Lviv and gave them humanitarian aid.

About the Sources

Information in the Georgian language was posted on Facebook by those Facebook users who were often noticed spreading fake information. The myth detector systematically checks and debunks the disinformation spread by the user Eduard Jishkariani.

Lado Kartvelishvili also often shares disinformation about Ukrainian biological laboratories and COVID-19.

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Violation: Disinformation

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