By: Sam Doak
April 20 2023
This claim appears to have originated from doctored materials shared by a propaganda account.
On April 13, 2023, Tucker Carlson dedicated a segment on his prime-time Fox News show to the war in Ukraine. Focusing on the recent leak of U.S. intelligence, the conservative host painted a bleak picture of the Ukrainian military’s performance in the war, claiming "seven Ukrainians are being killed for every Russian."
As host of the U.S.’ most-watched cable news show, Tucker Carlson is an influential figure within the country’s political landscape. Carlson has been a consistent critic of Western military support during the conflict and a vocal skeptic of Ukraine's ability to defend itself. In 2022, he opined, “By any actual reality-based measure, Vladimir Putin is not losing the war in Ukraine.”
The figures cited by Carlson contradict the narratives put forward by most outlets covering the war, during which Russia has reportedly sustained heavy personnel losses. Both the segment itself and the claim relating to death tolls have been widely shared by social media users, many of whom appear to believe that Ukrainian casualties have been hidden from Western audiences.
Despite the claim made by Carlson, there is no evidence that seven Ukrainians have been killed for every Russian who has died during the war. It appears as though this figure stems from doctored versions of leaked intelligence material.
While Tucker Carlson did not cite the source of the figure in question, it appears to have first surfaced in material shared by a Russian propaganda account on Telegram.
According to investigative journalism outlet Bellingcat, altered documents were shared on Telegram following the leak of classified U.S. intelligence material. The individual behind this channel, who has now been revealed as a U.S. Navy veteran, appears to have changed key details in the leaked documents to give the impression that Russian forces are outperforming Ukrainian troops. After reviewing earlier iterations of these materials, Bellingcat concluded “the numbers on these two sources differed, with the first source (4chan) showing more Russian losses than Ukrainian, and the second source (Donbas Devushka) the reverse.”
The original leaked documents do not support the narrative put forward by Carlson and others concerning troop losses in Ukrainian. In fact, they paint the opposite picture. According to Business Insider, “the actual leaked classified United States documents show that more than twice as many Russian soldiers as Ukrainian troops have been killed.”
While it is not possible to independently verify the details contained within the recently leaked Pentagon documents, it is clear that Carlson’s claim relating to casualties is likely based on documents that have been subsequently altered. There is no evidence that suggests Ukraine has suffered seven times the number of casualties during the Russian invasion.
The claim that "seven Ukrainians are being killed for every Russian" during the ongoing war appears to have originated in doctored versions of leaked intelligence material posted to a propaganda account on Telegram. This claim has therefore been marked as false