Mass surrender of Ukrainian soldiers is unlikely to be true

By: John Faerseth
October 6 2023

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Mass surrender of Ukrainian soldiers is unlikely to be true

Screenshot from video (Source: TikTok/Screenshot/Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict False

Mass surrender of Ukrainian soldiers has not been reported by reputable sources and is unlikely given the military situation.

Claim ID 0c5a4787


In a widely shared video on TikTok, American YouTubers Clayton and Natali Morris claim that tens of thousands of Ukrainian soldiers have laid down their weapons over the last weeks, surrendering to Russian troops. They refer to video clips purporting to show groups of Ukrainians laying down arms and surrendering. 

Morris claims to have been tracking “countless” reports of Ukrainians surrendering, also stating that this is something that will not be seen on CNN, BBC, and other Western sources “as they do not want people to see it.” 

In the video, Russia is also said to have been dropping leaflets telling Ukrainians how to surrender, and to have established a particular 149.200 "Volga" radio frequency where they can announce their intent to surrender. 

Similar claims have been made by the Russian news agency TASS and the propaganda outlets RT and Sputnik News. 

In fact

We could not identify the video clips purporting to show Ukrainian soldiers surrendering, which suggests the claim is untrue. However, they all show small groups of people and do not imply large numbers, even if they are authentic.

No Ukrainian or reputable international news media have reported about a mass surrender of Ukrainians, and no Ukrainian officials have issued statements confirming such claims. Also, given that Ukraine has about 200,000 active soldiers on the ground, tens of thousands surrendering within a short time would likely have been noticed by international observers and news outlets. 

Hans Petter Midttun, former Norwegian military attache in Ukraine, who publishes daily updates on the military situation for the Ukrainian site Euromaidan Press, told Logically Facts that the claim is implausible as “for Ukrainian soldiers to surrender in such numbers, Russia would have had to succeed in breaking through the front and surrounding several Ukrainian brigades. There is no available information that this is the case; quite the contrary”, he says. 

Mittun also told Logically Facts that “All reports substantiate that Russia lacks strategic reserves, is forced to move existing forces along the frontline, and struggle with motivational problems in the absence of artillery, ammunition and anti-artillery capacities, bad logistics, great losses and lack of medical assistance.” He says that the claim “smells of disinformation,” and believes the purpose is twofold: to give an “impression of success” to the Russian population, and to break down “Ukrainian morale and international unity.”

Former Fox & Friends host Clayton Morris left Fox News in 2017. According to the website and X (formerly Twitter) account Vatnik Soup – which lists spreaders of Russian propaganda and is run by Finnish researcher Pekka Kallioniemi – Morris and his wife Natali are known for their pro-Kremlin conspiracy theories related to the Russian-Ukrainian War.

The BBC has also refuted the claim, with disinformation journalist Shayan Sardarizadeh pointing out that some of the images are from April 2022 and that there is "zero evidence that Ukrainian soldiers are surrendering en mass to the Russians or that 'special radio frequency' is being used to facilitate it."

The verdict

There is no information from reputable sources on the mass surrender of Ukrainian soldiers. It is also improbable, given the military situation. We have therefore rated the claim as false. 

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