FAKE: Ukraine is the world leader in "black transplantology" – article

FAKE: Ukraine is the world leader in “black transplantology” – article

23 August 2023

Verification within Meta’s Third-Party Fact-Checking Program

Russian propagandist Maria Zakharova wrote an article about “black transplantology” in Ukraine. The article specifically mentions that:

  • In 2014, the OSCE stated that in areas of mass graves near conflict zones, bodies of people without internal organs were found. Most likely, they were victims of illegal transplantologists.
  • Black transplantology gained even more momentum after the start of the Russian “special military operation” in Ukraine. This was facilitated by the adoption of legislation that greatly simplifies the activities of transplantologists in the country.
  • In June 2023, representatives of the Ministry of Health of one of the NATO countries reached an agreement with the Ukrainian side to supply a refrigerated wagon with human organs and body parts that are most commonly used in transplantology. These include eye corneas, certain bones, connective tissues, hearts, and livers.

However, she lies and manipulates.

The OSCE did not confirm the facts of illegal transplantologists operating in Ukraine in 2014 and generally lacks evidence regarding possible organ removal in eastern Ukraine. On October 30, 2014, the organization issued an official refutation. It states that during one of the sessions of the OSCE Human Dimension Implementation Meetings (HDIM), two Russian non-governmental organizations quoted reports of possible organ removal and sale of human organs in eastern Ukraine. In response to this, a representative of the Ukrainian government stated that these accusations would be investigated as soon as greater access to the region becomes possible. This situation was described by the OSCE Special Representative on Human Trafficking Issues, Madina Jarbussynova, for Ukrainian media. Later, her words were taken out of context in Russian media.

Regarding legislative changes in the field of transplantology, they did indeed take place within the context of medical reform. Simplification did occur. However, this does not mean that after these changes, organs were taken from everyone after death and sold on the black market. The legalization of the black market is not being discussed either: according to the law, buying and selling organs is prohibited. Furthermore, it is prohibited to extract organs from the deceased who did not have guardians, incapacitated individuals, or those without established identity. The prohibition also extends to deceased military personnel. Similarly, organs cannot be removed if there is a valid written objection to posthumous donation.

On the contrary, the liberalization of legislation has contributed to the development of the field. In Ukraine, the number of transplant centers and performed operations is gradually increasing. The Unified State Transplantation Information System is operational, which maintains a registry of donors and facilitates automatic matching of donor-recipient pairs. This means that more people are given the chance to timely receive the necessary assistance.

Zakharova also writes about agreements between Ukraine and one of the NATO countries regarding organ trafficking. Other Russian media specify that Ukraine supposedly made such an agreement with Turkey. However, the implementation of such an agreement is simply impossible, particularly due to the preservation time of the organs themselves. Hearts and lungs are suitable for transplantation for 4-6 hours after removal. The liver remains viable outside the body for 8-12 hours. This amount of time would not suffice to transport them to Turkey, considering the need to cross the borders of Moldova, Romania, and Bulgaria.


The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations