Fact Check: Ukrainian 17-Year-Old Did NOT Die Fighting On Frontline


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Ukrainian 17-Year-Old Did NOT Die Fighting On Frontline 26 Years Old

Did a 17-year-old Ukrainian teenager lose his life on the battlefield, fighting with the Armed Forces of Ukraine? No, that's not true: The man being referred to in a video circulating on social media, Volodymyr Sachala, was 26, not 17, when he died.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok published by okupantttt on December 7, 2023. A similar claim was shared by another account, real_takk, (archived here). The text in the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) read:

The first mobilized teenager has died as a member of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In the 'Gaimadatskaya Sech' training facility reserve center a training of the first batch of orphans took place, which were planned to be deployed as reservists in the rear areas of the Kherson region. However, the teenagers happened to be on the frontline... In the battles near the village of Novoveselovskoe in LNR (Luhansk People's Republic) 17-year old 'reservist' Volodymyr died.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-12-12 at 10.32.57 AM.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Dec 12 06:31:36 2023 UTC)

The official Facebook page of Yavoriv City Council posted an obituary of a man, Volodymyr Sachala, with a photo, the same used in the TikTok post, on December 2, 2023. The obituary mentions that Sachala was 26 when he passed away. According to the post, the man had started his mandatory military service in 2017, and in 2023 had joined the Army to fight against the Russians. The place of death was listed as Druzhba, a small city in the Sumy Oblast in Ukraine, very far from the village of Novoveselovskoe mentioned in the TikTok.

The Center for Disinformation of Ukraine called the death of a 17-year-old teenager fake and an attempt to discredit the Armed Forces.

The "Gaimadatskaya Sech" training facility reserve center mentioned in the TikTok does not exist in Ukraine. The closest name of a real training center is Haidamatska Sich. On December 7, 2023, the center published a post denying that an underage boy had been drafted from there. Director Vadim Arnaut noted that joining the center is not an easy process and it is only approved after a detailed conversation with the parents.

Lead Stories has previously debunked a claim on Ukraine's alleged plans to lower the draft age to 16. According to the current Ukrainian law, the military service age begins at 18.

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