DISINFO: A 4-year-old child died in Donbas after Ukrainian army drone attack
War in Ukraine Donbas

DISINFO: A 4-year-old child died in Donbas after Ukrainian army drone attack


According to reports, a child was killed after a Ukrainian army drone attacked a civilian settlement.


Deliberate disinformation about the Ukrainian army without factual basis.

Reports by pro-Kremlin media about a boy allegedly killed by a drone attack by the Ukrainian army on April 3, 2021 cannot be considered true. Rather, the cause of death appears to be an accident with explosives/old ammunition and not by a drone attack.

RT German and other pro-Kremlin disinformation outlets spread information that a child allegedly died as a result of a Ukrainian drone attack in the NGCA [Non-Government-controlled-area] of Donbas. These reports refer to the “people’s police” of the so-called “Donetsk People’s Republic”, which made a similar statement on April 3, 2021.

According to the comprehensive debunk of the Ukrainian Fact-Checking Group StopFake, the boy died as a result of an accident while handling explosive elements. This is confirmed by statements of eye-witnesses from the respective village within the debunk of StopFake

Neither the “people’s police” nor the Pro-Kremlin-media provide any details of what happened: there are no comments from relatives, no photos from the scene, no name of the murdered child. The only thing that the representative of the so-called “DPR” said at the briefing on April 3, that the child died at the address of 36, Druha (2nd) Dorozhna str. in the settlement of Oleksandrivske.

StopFake contacted the press service of the Joint Forces Operation and asked if they were informed about the dead child. The service told that they had seen reports from the Russian and pro-Kremlin media but had no information to confirm them. As of 4 April, the child’s death or a drone attack was not reflected in the latest report of the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission on 3 April.

Social network users write about the child’s death. In the Russian-language network VKontakte, in the “DPR Army. Tips for volunteers” group user “Victoria Oleksandrivna” left a screenshot of the comment by “Valentyna Iskrytska” under the message about the child’s death. In it, the mentioned user claims that the child really died, but not as a result of a drone strike.

“Yes, it happened yesterday, but not because of a drone. I am from this village. The owner had a mine, and his grandson found it. I do not understand why people are lied to. My condolences,” she wrote.

Another person who used to live in Oleksandrivske and still has relatives and acquaintances there, Oleksandr (the name was changed at the man’s request due to the threat of his family’s persecution – ed.) confirmed the version that the child’s death was the result of an accident.

“They say, the man brought home all sorts of rubbish – ammunition. One of the explosive items was at his house and detonated. As my friends told me, there was no “whistling” sound: usually, when a shell flies, it “whistles”. And this time there was nothing, just an explosion – and the child was killed,” he said.

The accident version appears appears even more convincing due to the geographical location of the settlement Oleksandrivske. Military expert Oleksandr Kovalenko writes that the drone could not reach Oleksandrivske since the distance from the village to the government-controlled territory is about 30 kilometres.

The Ukrainian Army [Joint Forces Operation’s] press service also confirmed to StopFake that their drones are not able to cover such a distance with ammunition and point to the false nature of this information.


Related disinfo cases


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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