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FACT CHECK REPORT DECEMBER 16, 2022

Christie Hui, Counter Threat Strategic Communications (CTSC) Team

Chloe Bissett, Editor


Logo of the International Legion in Ukraine[1]


Claim: German citizens received letters from the Consulate General of Ukraine in Dusseldorf, Germany, inviting them to join the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine, or the Ukrainian Foreign Legion. The letters offered 5,000 euros per month for service in the military and 100,000 euros for the bereaved.[2]

Facts:

  • Ukraine’s Consulate General did not send letters to German citizens. Spokesman of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Oleg Nikolenko stated that the letters are fabricated.[3]

  • Foreign fighters recruited into the Ukrainian army are paid the same amount as Ukrainian soldiers.[4] As of March 2022, Ukrainian soldiers’ salaries are 100,000 hryvnias per month, about 2,600 euros.[5]

  • The distribution of fake letters follows recent incidents involving Ukrainian embassies around the world. Packages containing explosives or animal eyes were sent to Ukrainian embassies and consulates. One package exploded at the Ukrainian embassy in Madrid, Spain.[6]

Analysis & Implications:

  • The fabricated letters are almost certainly an attempt to discredit the Ukrainian government. The monetary incentive will likely attract foreign fighters to join the Ukrainian military. However, the false information will likely cause the recruits to believe that the Ukrainian government misled them into enlisting for its cause.

  • The alleged salary difference will likely create the perception that the Ukrainian government values foreigners more than its citizens, almost certainly decreasing morale among Ukrainian soldiers. Decreased morale very likely increases the likelihood of Ukrainian soldiers surrendering or deserting the military. This perception will also likely decrease morale and support from Ukrainian civilians, which often affects soldiers’ confidence and spirit.

  • The perception of Ukraine attempting to recruit German citizens will likely weaken Germany-Ukraine relations, as Germany currently provides military aid, such as weapons and equipment, to Ukraine. There is a roughly even chance that Germany will perceive the alleged Ukrainian recruitment as an indication that its efforts are inadequate and that Ukraine is unappreciative of its support.

Verdict: FALSE

 

[1]International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine emblem” by VileGecko licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

[2] Ukraine War: Fake Army Recruitment Letters, Globe Echo, December 2022, https://globeecho.com/news/europe/germany/ukraine-war-fake-army-recruitment-letters/

[3] Foreign Ministry: Germans receive fake letters from Ukrainian consulate, The Kyiv Independent, December 2022, https://kyivindependent.com/news-feed/foreign-ministry-germans-receive-fake-letters-from-ukrainian-consulate

[4] For foreign fighters, Ukraine offers purpose, camaraderie and a cause, Reuters, March 2022, https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/foreign-fighters-ukraine-offers-purpose-camaraderie-cause-2022-03-07/

[5] The strange role of conscription in Ukraine’s war, The Economist, March 2022, https://www.economist.com/europe/the-strange-role-of-conscription-in-ukraines-war/21808446

[6] Ukraine war: Animal eye packages sent to embassies ‘from German address’, BBC, December 2022, https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-63889794

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