Is Ukraine now drafting soldiers with Down syndrome?!

Is Ukraine now forced to draft soldiers with Down syndrome?! Take a look at the viral claims, and find out what the facts really are!


Claim : Ukraine is drafting soldiers with Down syndrome!

People are sharing videos of what they claim or suggest is a Ukrainian soldier with Down syndrome, in a trench being abused by his fellow Ukrainians. In another video, the same Down syndrome soldier is seen almost dropping a bomb upside down a mortar tube!

Ian Miles Cheong : There are multiple videos of Ukrainian men with obvious physical and intellectual disabilities being press-ganged, “mobilized” and forced to be on the front lines—some of whom are rescued by women who no longer want to lose their men to fight Zelensky’s war. This video of an intellectually disabled man is one such example. How much longer must this go on?

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Truth : Ukraine is not drafting soldiers with Down syndrome!

This appears to be yet another example of Russian propaganda and/or fake news, and here are the reasons why…

Fact #1 : Down syndrome Man Does Not Appear To Be AFU Soldier

Let me start by pointing out that there is no evidence that the soldier with Down syndrome is actually part of the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU). In fact, there is no evidence he is even a soldier!

If you look carefully at the two videos (another below), you will notice a few problems with claims that the Down syndrome man is an AFU soldier:

  • His uniform lacks any unit patch or identification
  • He’s wearing rubber boots, even though it’s winter
  • While you may think he’s wearing a bulletproof vest, he’s just wearing an empty plate carrier, without any actual armour plate.
  • He also lacks a helmet and a weapon of any kind, even though the videos claim / suggest that he’s on the frontline.

Unsurprisingly, none of those sharing these videos actually provided any evidence that the man, who is apparently called Vokha, is serving in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

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Fact #2 : It Was Likely Recorded Far From Any Frontline

The videos lack any features that allow for geolocation, so it could easily be recorded in Russia, or Russian-occupied territories in Ukraine, using a Ukrainian man with Down syndrome.

In fact, it was likely recorded far away from any frontline as his abuser / cameraman was very loud. Such shouting would have attracted the attention of the opposing side, resulting in artillery fire or a drone attack.

In addition, there was a distinct lack of background sound – no booming of artillery, not even gunshots in the distance. It literally sounds like the videos were taken in a safe environment, far from any fighting.

Fact #3 : AFU Does Not Accept Soldiers With Disabilities

I should also point out that the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) does not accept soldiers with such significant disabilities.

As the AFU’s Regulation on Military Medical Examination decreed (archive), people with significant congenital or chromosomal abnormalities are ineligible for military service, even if they wish to voluntarily join the AFU!

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Fact #4 : He Would Have Endangered His Fellow Soldiers

Frankly, it would not make sense for Ukraine to deploy soldiers with Down syndrome on the frontlines, even if they are desperate, because they would pose even more danger to their fellow soldiers.

People with Down syndrome not only have some intellectual impairment, they also have health problems. If they are ever drafted to serve in the military, they would be serving in the rear, and never on the frontlines.

Fact #5 : This Is Likely Just Russian Propaganda

This is likely just Russian, or pro-Russia, propaganda / fake news, just like these examples that I fact checked earlier:

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.


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