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HomeFact CheckFact Check: Viral Video From Ukraine Shows ‘Thieves’ Being Punished, Not Citizens...

Fact Check: Viral Video From Ukraine Shows ‘Thieves’ Being Punished, Not Citizens Refusing To Join War

Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Claim
Ukrainian citizens tied to poles, humiliated for refusing to join the war against Russia

Fact
Video from 2022 showing ‘looters’ being publicly humiliated in Ukraine

A video, showing two men being tied to separate poles by men in military fatigues, is being widely shared on Twitter, with the claim that “Ukrainian fighters are forcing citizens to fight and if they refuse they will be humiliated”.

Viral video claimed to be of Ukraine military humiliating citizens for refusing to join the war was found to be a 2022 clip of ‘thieves’ being publicly humiliated.

The archived version of the tweet can be seen here.

Fact check

Newschecker first did a reverse image search of keyframes of this video, which led us to this tweet by a Saudi journalist, dated March 22, 2022. The tweet, when translated from Arabic, stated that every male and female thief were tied to the poles, according to a law issued by the Ukrainian People’s Committees.

Taking a cue from this, we ran a keyword search for “Ukraine thieves tied to poles”, which led us to this France 24 Observers report, dated April 1, 2022, which features the viral video. According to the report, “Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, videos shared on social networks and in local media outlets have shown disturbing scenes: people tied to poles in the street, sometimes stripped of their clothing and beaten. These incidents have occurred all around the country, often as punishment for people accused of theft.” The report, while pointing out there were at least 17 similar videos, further stated, “Many of these people were put in this situation after they were accused of looting homes or abandoned stores. Often, they are identified with a paper taped to them which reads ‘мародер’, or ‘marauder’.”

Viral video claimed to be of Ukraine military humiliating citizens for refusing to join the war was found to be a 2022 clip of ‘thieves’ being publicly humiliated.

“Out of the 17 videos our team analysed, we only found nine instances where we can see someone tying up an accused thief. Sometimes, they appear to be ordinary citizens while others – carrying weapons or wearing military fatigues, blue or yellow armbands or badges – may be members of Ukraine’s security forces,” the report said, adding that it’s likely that this type of public humiliation is being inflicted by ordinary civilians or by security forces, spontaneously – without any kind of official order.

Similar reports on this citizen policing can be seen here, here and here, confirming that the viral video was of one such instance of “vigilante justice” being meted out in wartime Ukraine.

Result: False

Conclusion

Viral video claimed to be of Ukraine military humiliating citizens for refusing to join the war was found to be a 2022 clip of ‘thieves’ being publicly humiliated.

Sources
Tweet by @halgawi, March 22, 2022
France 24 Observers report, April 1, 2022


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Authors

Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

Kushel HM
Kushel HM
Kushel HM is a mechanical engineer-turned-journalist, who loves all things football, tennis and films. He was with the news desk at the Hindustan Times, Mumbai, before joining Newschecker.

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