On August 24th, a photo of a document, which allegedly contains information about the losses of the Ukrainian army, was disseminated among Georgian and Russian-language social media users (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9). The distributed document has the form of an official letter; its addressee is Oleksiy Danilov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, while the sender is the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valerii Zaluzhnyi. According to the document, the actual losses of the Ukrainian armed forces in the Russia-Ukraine war are as follows: 76,640 dead, more than 42,000 wounded, 7,244 captured and 1,610 missing soldiers.
On August 22nd, while speaking about the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Kremlin propagandist Scott Ritter also spoke about the leaked document and stated that the total losses of the Ukrainian side exceeded 250,000 people. Ritter made the mentioned statement with Norwegian political commentator Glenn Diesen, who is a frequent guest of Russia Today and an object of criticism for spreading Kremlin propaganda. A fragment of the conversation between Ritter and Diesen was published by the Facebook page of News TV on August 23rd.
The photo of the document was also published by Russian journalist, Russia 1 host Vladimir Solovyov on his Telegram channel:
Based on the Russian news agency topwar.ru, the photo of the document was also distributed by the online publication “Georgia and World“, while tvm.ge relied on the latter while sharing it.
The disseminated document is fabricated, which is indicated by the following details: 1. The barcode is placed in the wrong place 2. Russianisms are used in the document 3. The ratio of the number of dead and wounded servicemen is unfitting 4. The document is drawn up on the letterhead of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, although it bears the signature of Valerii Zaluzhnyi, the Supreme Commander of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Not to mention, the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine has already denied the authenticity of the document.
- According to the analysis of the disinformation centre of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the mentioned document has several flaws:
- The document is written in an unofficial language, which raises the question of whether it was written by someone who does not know the Ukrainian language or does not know it well.
- The document uses several Russian words, such as: Информация О загиблих, отриманих рахання and чистаться (шкодо Збройних сил).
The barcode is placed on the upper right side of the given document, while according to the “unified system of preparation of organizational and administrative documentation” (DSTU 4163:2020), the barcode should be placed on the lower left corner of the first page of the official document.
The “Strategic Communications and Information Security Centre” of Ukraine also studied the document. They found two additional inconsistencies:
- The claim that more than 76,000 were killed and 42,000 were wounded is unrealistic, because, as a rule, the number of injured as a result of hostilities exceeds the number of dead by about three times.
- The document is drawn up on the letterhead of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, and Valerii Zaluzhnyi, as the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, does not sign documents of this form.
The authenticity of the circulated document was denied by the Deputy Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Hanna Maliar, in a Facebook post published on August 25th:
The Ukrainian fact-checking platform StopFake also analyzed the document disseminated on social networks and determined that the document is fake based on its inconsistencies.
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