Russian Telegram channels spread information claiming that residents of the Lviv region refused to donate blood for the needs of the military. The majority of donors left the center when they found out that the soldiers of the 103rd Separate Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were supposedly working in the rear and not on the battlefield. Users of the network also did not miss the topic of transplantation and alleged the death of a Ukrainian soldier at the hands of so-called “black transplantologists.”
With the support of the USAID Health Reform Support project, VoxCheck analyzes and refutes public health narratives spread in the information space of Ukraine, Belarus, and russia on a weekly basis.
Disinformation: Residents ofthe Lviv region refused to donate blood for the needs of the military
Russian Telegram channels are spreading information that civilians in the town of Horodok in the Lviv region refused to donate blood for the military. During the campaign, there was allegedly a scandal between the donors and the soldiers of the 103rd Separate Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. According to propagandists, the military is supposedly staff members and mobilized to “protect Lviv Oblast from Wagner.”
Screenshot of the post
What’s the reality?
On July 20, 2023, an action to collect blood for wounded soldiers was organized in the city of Horodok, Lviv region. Anyone without medical contraindications could participate in the campaign. According to co-organizer Uiana Hrydil, a mobile blood donation station with all the necessary equipment was operating on-site. This mobile bus allows for the simultaneous collection of blood from four individuals.
However, we found no mention of any alleged altercation between civilians and soldiers of the 103rd Separate Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces on social media or in media outlets. Moreover, during the four hours of operation, 64 people participated in the blood donation.
According to the law “On Blood Donation and its Components,” blood donation in Ukraine is voluntary. However, there are certain contraindications. For example, the donor’s body weight must be at least 50 kg. People with cardiovascular diseases, central nervous system disorders, diabetes, and infectious or malignant diseases are prohibited to donate blood. To donate blood, one needs to visit a blood center in any city in Ukraine or register online through the DonorUA platform.
Furthermore, the claims of propagandists that “dozens of soldiers from the 103rd Separate Brigade are staying in the rear, not in the Kharkiv region” are untrue. The soldiers of the 103rd Separate Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces of Ukraine are actively involved in combat operations. In January 2023, some members of the brigade were rewarded for their participation in the liberation of settlements in Donetsk Oblast. Additionally, the President of Ukraine has mentioned the 103rd Separate Brigade in his addresses multiple times, expressing gratitude for their role in liberating occupied territories. The statements about altercations between soldiers and local civilians are yet another attempt by propagandists to discredit the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To strengthen their propaganda, the Russians used authentic photos that, in reality, do not confirm the information about the alleged refusal of donors to give blood.
Disinformation: In Lviv, a soldier died because of “black transplant specialists”
Users of the network, citing Ukrainian media, are spreading information that a military serviceman died in Lviv under mysterious circumstances. The authors of the post claim that the soldier died because of “black transplantologists.”
Screenshot of the post
What’s the reality?
On July 11, 2023, “Espresso.Zakhid” published a news article with the headline “A military serviceman died in Lviv hospital under mysterious circumstances. Relatives suspect the involvement of medical staff.” This specific phrasing could have been used to create a fake story. However, the soldier’s death is not mysterious; the article mentions the cause of death, and it is not related to the work of “black transplantologists.”
The article states that Yaroslav Andrushko, a military serviceman of the 103rd Separate Brigade of the Territorial Defense Forces, was undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction at the Lviv Regional Medical Center for Prevention and Treatment of Addictions on Kulparkivska Street. Later, according to his relatives, he was transferred to the Hospital of Saint Panteleimon of the First Territorial Medical Association due to suspicion of a stroke. However, the hospital did not confirm this diagnosis. Instead, Andrushko was found to have a hematoma and a serious skull injury.
“The doctor, Demian Yaroslavovych, emphasized that with the head injury that Yaroslav had, it would have been impossible to survive for more than a day,” said the relatives of the deceased soldier. The forensic medical expert’s conclusion indicated that the cause of death was a head injury from a blunt object. This fact also refutes the claim about the activities of “black transplantologists.” In Ukraine, organ transplants are not performed after biological death. This condition is characterized by irreversible changes in the central nervous system, where cells of vital organs die, and any resuscitation measures are ineffective. Instead, transplantation is carried out after the declaration of brain death, where the activity of the brain ceases, while artificial support is maintained for heart and lung functions.
Photo of the forensic medical expert’s report
The mother and brother claimed that the deceased received injuries in the medical center on Kulparkivska Street. They made a verbal statement to the police. Relatives reported that on July 7, the investigator issued a decision refusing to recognize the victim due to the absence of signs of violent death.
“Espresso.Zakhid” turned to the director of the Lviv Regional Center, Myroslava Kabanchyk, for a comment. At the time of writing the article, “Espresso.Zakhid” did not publish the director’s answer.
Source: Ukrainian Transplant Coordination Center
The relatives of the soldier did not mention organ removal, and there is no mention of it in the conclusion of the forensic medical examination. Russian media are widely spreading fake news about the activities of “black transplantologists” in Ukraine. These claims are usually based on twisting information or outright distorting facts. It has been repeatedly explained that organ donation in Ukraine is voluntary, and the state covers the costs of transplantation surgeries.
In the previous issue, we debunked the fake about Ukrainian television reporting on the activities of “black transplantologists.”
This information piece was produced with the assistance of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), provided on behalf of the people of the United States of America. This article’s content, which does not necessarily reflect the views of USAID, the United States Government, is the sole responsibility of Deloitte Consulting under contract #72012118C00001.
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