Date: 2 January 2018

Russian media reported on a Ukrainian prisoner of war who allegedly does not want to leave the areas controlled by the separatists

On December 27, 2017, Russia’s Channel One presented a footage from the town of Makeyevka in the Donetsk region where Ukrainian authorities and pro-Russian separatists from the Luhansk People’s Republic exchanged their prisoners. The TV program showed an interview with the alleged prisoner Alexander Takhtenkov (as he introduced himself) of the 56th Motorized Brigade, who announced that he wanted to stay in the Donetsk People’s Republic and work there as a locksmith.

As he said in an interview, “there is a lot of work here. It’s better here. I have already informed my mother that I would stay in the Donetsk People’s Republic”. Earlier, pro-separatist media reported that the prisoner, who had refused to return to the areas controlled by Kiev, was not a man named Takhtenkov, but a woman. The information has been also confirmed by Deputy Prosecutor General of Ukraine Anzhela Stryzhevska. According to her, among all prisoners taken from the uncontrolled territory, one woman refused to return to the Ukraine-controlled area: she said that she had had pro-Ukrainian attitude but her family had been in Donetsk therefore she wanted to stay there.

The Channel One’s program showed also the alleged “former sniper of the Ukrainian Aidar battalion” Alexander Aisin who had agreed to return to Ukraine but he had had “no intention to fight for Poroshenko”. However, there is no such a person on the lists of prisoners handed over to the Ukrainian authorities.

In July 2014, also on the Russian Channel One, the author of the material, a Russian journalist Yuliia Chumakova, presented a video footage about the alleged atrocities of the Ukrainian military in the Donbass, as evidenced by a story of a three-year-old Russian-speaking boy from the city of Sloviansk who was supposedly crucified in front of his mother by soldiers of the National Guard of Ukraine. Eventually, the fact has turned out to be false, and the management of the Channel One explained to the audience that it had been triggered by the imagination of a woman appearing in the material.

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