The claim: A video shows Ukrainian soldiers saying goodbye to their wives before going to war
The Ukrainian armed forces continue to grow as citizens and foreign volunteers step forward to fight Russian troops invading the country. Online, some have shared footage they claim shows emotional farewells.
"Ukraine soldiers leaving their wives for war," reads the caption of a Feb. 25 Facebook post shared more than 1,200 times within 10 days.
The 20-second clip shows two men wearing military uniforms and black balaclavas covering their faces. Their purported wives are seen crying and hugging them.
Other social media posts include hashtags like #UkraineRussia and #SayNoToWar, which makes it seem as if the video is from the Russian invasion. On Twitter, one post with the video has been shared more than 500 times since Feb. 24, the first day of the invasion.
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The footage is real, but it has been taken out of context. The video was taken in 2014 during a conflict with Russia-backed separatist groups.
USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who posted the video for comment.
Video taken during 2014 conflict
The video comes from "The War of Chimeras," a documentary released in 2017. The clip shown in the post appears in two videos posted on YouTube by the production company.
The second couple in the video can be seen about 20 seconds into the movie's official trailer, posted on YouTube in July 2017.
The movie is a firsthand recollection by its director, Anastasiia Starozhytska, and her boyfriend, Valery Lavrenov, about how the war in the Donbas region affected them. Lavrenov was deployed to the front.
The documentary revolves around the Battle of Ilovaisk, Starozhytska told the Crimean News Agency in 2017.
During the August 2014 conflict, Ukrainian soldiers tto reclaim the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk in Donbas. Russia-backed rebels had taken over the area in April 2014.
Fact check roundup: What's true and what's false about the Russian invasion of Ukraine
Ukrainian forces momentarily seized the town of Ilovaisk in mid-August without casualties, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time. Within days, Russia-backed groups had surrounded the Ukrainian troops.
The opposing sides eventually reached a deal to allow Ukrainian soldiers to leave Ilovaisk. But Russian and rebel troops opened fire, leaving about 100 dead and several wounded, the Journal reported.
Our rating: Missing context
Based on our research, we rate MISSING CONTEXT the claim that a video shows Ukrainian soldiers saying goodbye to their wives before going to war, because it may be misleading without additional information. The video was taken in 2014 as soldiers prepared to fight Russia-backed rebels in the Donbas region. The video was used for a documentary and has nothing to do with the invasion of Ukraine, as the social media posts imply.
Our fact-check sources:
MashKino production via YouTube, April 10, 2018, "The War of Chimeras" people's film distribution
Google Translate, accessed March 8, Translation
MashKino production via YouTube, July 7, 2017, The War of Chimeras / Війна химер (2017) - Trailer
Film Freeway, accessed March 8, The War of Chimeras
Crimean News Agency, July 20, 2017, Film "War of Chimeras": Realistic as never before
BBC, Aug. 29, 2019, Ukraine's deadliest day: The battle of Ilovaisk, August 2014
The Wall Street Journal, Sept. 2, 2014, Ukraine Suffers Harsh Defeat in Eastern Town
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Ukrainian soldiers in video went to war in 2014, not 2022