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Ukrainian MP fakes ‘victim’ of Russian strike

Lesia Vasilenko posted a photo of a boy from a 2013 book cover

A Ukrainian lawmaker has posted a photo of a sad-looking, dirt-covered boy, claiming that he is an eight-year-old named Mark, who “just survived” a Russian artillery strike. However, the claim didn’t hold water, since the same image had been used on a book cover in 2013, as people swiftly pointed out.

The false claim came from Lesia Vasilenko, a Ukrainian MP from the relatively small Golos (Voice) Party, who has a background in law and human rights campaigning. She shared the photo and the purported story of “Marc, 8 yo” with her 330,000 followers on her English-language Twitter feed on Tuesday.

The photo is nowhere close to being new and does not appear to have any relation to Ukraine. The 2013 Spanish-language edition of the book “The Misremembered Man” by Irish novelist Christina McKenna featured the very same picture on the cover, skeptics pointed out. At the time of the writing, the tweet remained on the platform, though Twitter added a notice about its questionable veracity.


READ MORE: Watchdog estimates civilian death toll from Ukrainian attacks on Donbass

The Ukrainian MP, who states that she studied at University College London, is regularly invited by leading Western media, such as France’s BFM TV or the BBC, to comment on Ukrainian affairs.

The latest UN casualty report for Ukraine on Tuesday said that its mission had recorded 429 deaths of children since hostilities with Russia started in late February. A watchdog operating in Russia’s Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics reported earlier this month that 154 minors had been killed by strikes it attributed to Ukrainian troops during roughly the same timeframe. The UN considers Donbass as part of Ukraine and counts civilian deaths taking place there as Ukrainian.

Between 2014, when Kiev deployed troops against the rebellious republics in Donbass, in the wake of an armed coup in the Ukrainian capital, and the beginning of Russia’s operation this year, some 150 children were killed in the region, according to UN estimates.


December 28, 2022 at 06:44PM

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