Ukraine Does Not Send Pregnant Women to Fight the Russians

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Photo: Screenshot from the video in the FB post

There is no relevant evidence in support of the video. According to the Centre for Strategic Communication established by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy on countering disinformation, the video is fake and fabricated. The fact is that Ukraine is not sending pregnant women to fight the Russians in the first lines. Pregnant women and women on maternity leave or those taking care of small or special-needs children are exempt from military service registration. If they are already serving, they are also entitled to release if they get pregnant or find themselves in some other specific circumstances

 

We are fact-checking a post on Facebook (screenshot here) claiming that Zelenskyy is recruiting pregnant women for the front.

Desperate Zelenskyy
Sending women to the front.
The West will fight to the last Ukrainian standing even if that person was a woman, states the post.

The post is accompanied by a video claiming to be presenting Russian soldiers who found a woman soldier in the Ukrainian Army. The girl was scared and said that she was pregnant, so the Russian soldiers saved her.

It is not true that Ukraine is sending pregnant women to fight the Russians in the first lines. Pregnant women and women on maternity leave or even those taking care of small or special-needs children are exempt from military service registration. If they are already serving, they are also entitled to release if they get pregnant or find themselves in other specific circumstances.

Since 1 October 2023, Ukrainian women in the age group 18-60 years old with medical experience must register in the military service offices. The purpose is to collect data on the available medical staff reserves. Women can be conscripted for military service or be assigned duties for defending the country. They perform military duties – the list of which can be found here – on equal footing with men because the law does not discriminate between men and women.

According to Ukrainian legislation, pregnant women and those who have children still need to register with the TCK (Териториальний центр комплектування та соціальної підтримки – Territorial Centre of Recruitment and Social Support – the military administrative body that enforces military duty and service, including mobilization training and mobilization itself). Pregnancy, however, is an exemption that provides for different treatment, making the pregnant women ”ineligible” for service. They also have the right to be released if they are already serving.

Women can postpone registration for service if they are pregnant or on maternity leave; are raising a child alone; have three or more minors; are raising a disabled child that demands constant care; and if their spouse is serving in the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

Pregnant women soldiers can submit required documentation to their commander and exercise the right to be released from military service and also during martial law enforcement.

There have been special cases of pregnant women who continue their service (for example here or here). However, women recruited during mobilization are eligible for release from military service due to their pregnancy. As the civilian women, they are also entitled to go on holidays. Based on a medical pregnancy certificate, women are assigned 70 calendar days of maternity leave before birth and 56 calendar days after delivery. After maternity leave, upon the request of the woman-soldier concerned, leave is approved so that she can take care of her child until it reaches the age of three. If possible and desirable, she can return early to complete her military service.

Women have been included in the Ukrainian Army since 1993. Since 6 September 2018, women meet the requirements for all army positions and ranks, with the same duties and opportunities as their male peers. Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, more than 11,000 women have joined the Ukrainian Army voluntarily. Of approximately 60,000 women in the Ukrainian Army, about 5,000 of them serve in combat units as nurses, but also as female snipers, etc.

The list of specialties or vocations that women may serve can be found here.

The video fact-checked was originally posted on the social network TikTok and marked as fake by Spravdi (Centre for Strategic Communication established by the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy for countering disinformation), stated the fact-checking site Lead Stories. According to Spravdi, the video was shared by Solovyov, a pro-Russian propagandist.

Spravdi’s analysis stresses that some elements suggest that the scene was staged such as: the woman’s uniform is clean regardless of the fighting in the first line and the woman does not have a weapon or other typical equipment usually provided to soldiers. In addition, no explosions or shootings can be heard in the video, which is unusual, since it claims that shootings were happening on the front lines.

Also, there is the fact that the video was made in a way that it cannot be checked. The faces of the alleged Russian soldiers are hidden, as is the face of the alleged “pregnant woman” and it is not obvious whether she is talking or a voice was additionally added in the video-editing process. The frames are short and cut abruptly as not to give out any details that could point to the deception. Apart from the fact that the video is short – it lasts just 13 seconds – and contains only a few sentences, out of which the alleged “pregnant woman” utters just one and a half sentences before the video is abruptly ended, it explains nothing. If it were an actual video, most probably it would not have ended so abruptly and much more details would have been added, with the idea to make the story more convincing and to prove that nothing was concealed. That, however, is not the case with this video. It is not known – not even close – where on the front the video was recorded, and it also not explained how this allegedly “pregnant woman” was found and what she did exactly. Her presence on the front is highly illogical since a pregnant woman cannot be useful on such a location and it is not clear why she would be taken there. Her armament cannot be seen, nor her position or trench, etc. In addition, it is not clear why she would be alone in the middle of a forest. None of these important moments have been explained. This short video conceals more than it reveals. If it were an actual situation, Russian propaganda would have exploited this to the maximum and the case would have been top story on Russian television channels and in the reports of news agencies worldwide. But, such a thing was never reported by anyone.

Truthmeter has already written about the recruitment and the records of women in Ukraine’s military register.

Towards the end of the video, the text “The Aussie Cossack” appears. If you check the name, you will find out that the name is the nickname of Simeon Boikov, a pro-Kremlin propagandist who has been hiding a whole year in the Russian Consulate in Sydney, Australia and who became a Russian subject recently. More information on this propagandist of Russian origin in Australia can be found here. Now things are becoming more than clear.

From the above-noted, we can conclude that no relevant evidence substantiating the authenticity of the video exists. According to the Centre for Strategic Communication established under the auspices of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture and Information Policy for countering disinformation, the video is fake and fabricated. The fact is that Ukraine is not sending pregnant women to fight the Russians in the first lines. Pregnant women and women on maternity leave or those taking care of small or special-needs children are exempt from military service registration. If they are already serving, they are also entitled to release if they get pregnant or find themselves in some other specific circumstance. Hence, we mark the post as not true.