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NATO: No Alliance Service Members Killed in Eastern Ukraine

Ukraine -- The Ukrainian soldier explains the dangerous shelling zones inside inside the industrial zone ("Promka", "Promzone") near city Avdiivka, December 4, 2017
Press service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR)

Press service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR)

“…When NATO service members, escorted by Ukrainian militants, were visiting today the combat contact line in the vicinity of Avdiivka, the (Ukrainian Armed Forces) command purposefully led the guests into their minefield, where a car with the foreigners was blown up by a landmine. As a result, three NATO servicemen from Canada were killed and two from the U.S. were injured.”

NATO denies any casualties, saying it had no forces there.

The press service of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) reported on May 17 that three NATO soldiers allegedly had been killed in a landmine explosion near Avdiivka in eastern Ukraine.

The Russian state media outlets RIA Novosti and RT in Russian followed with similar reports about the fatalities immediately after the DNR press release.

UKRAINE -- Visit of the NATO Military Committee, Lviv, April 18, 2018
UKRAINE -- Visit of the NATO Military Committee, Lviv, April 18, 2018

VOA's Ukrainian service reported that NATO confirmed it had no military presence in the Donbas, and that no NATO member state had reported any losses. NATO made it clear it was aware of the Russian media reports.

Immediately prior to the Russian media reports, a journalist from Canada’s CTV National News tweeted that the Canadian armed forces denied the report on the alleged incident issued the previous evening by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic. "The Ministry of National Defense and the Canadian Armed Forces state that no Canadian person was injured or killed," the CTV journalist wrote., a fact-checking service fighting disinformation about Ukraine, says that the DNR’s statement is not supported by any evidence.

After checking the claim with the Ukrainian military’s press office, StopFake reported that one Ukrainian soldier was critically wounded and died in fighting on May 12. On May 11 and 13, Ukraine did not report any casualties in the fighting in the occupied Donbas regions, StopFake said.

The fact that the source of the false information was the DNR website was addressed by freelance journalist Nicholas von Twickel, who covers events in Ukraine.

​Von Twickel also noted that Canada has been a target of information warfare, and he drew attention to the fact that the DNR website distributed the false information in English, as well as in Russian.

Stevenson described the process in her Tweet, too.

“The false claim Canadian troops had been killed in Ukraine today came from right off this website, then onto Russian language twitter now English accounts tweeting it,” wrote Mercedes Stevenson. “Interesting study in how #inforwars work.”