Russia’s propagandist Telegram channel has spread a post about firefighters being allegedly drafted in Ukraine due to the lack of mobilization resources. Reportedly, the situation is already critical in Kharkiv, and soon there will be no one left to extinguish fires. In order to make this message look more reliable, Russian propagandists decided to link it to the tragic event that had recently occurred in the Kharkiv region. According to them, the mobilization of firefighters in Ukraine had been a known fact for a long time, but the real confirmation was a message posted by Ternopil Mayor Serhii Nadal about the funeral of ‘Sergey Khotsulyak’, who was allegedly a firefighter and died while performing a combat mission in the Kharkiv region.
Indeed, on Serhii Nadal’s Facebook page, there is a post honoring the memory of the deceased employee of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service. However, his correct name is Serhii Hotsuliak, and he worked not as a firefighter but as the Head of the Pyrotechnic Works Unit of the Special-Purpose Emergency and Rescue Squad at the Main Department of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service in the Ternopil region. On January 4, 2023, Serhii died while performing demining works within the Kharkiv region’s de-occupied areas. As for Kharkiv firefighters, their mobilization or staff shortage were denied by the Main Department of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service in the Kharkiv region.
“Both in the city and the region, none of firefighters have been drafted. Additionally, there are no problems with the number of firefighters. We are on special records, and our lads are not drafted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the press service of the Main Department of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service in the Kharkiv region said in a commentary.
Additionally, in a commentary to Ukrinform, former Commander of the Ukrainian Airmobile Forces (1998-2005) Ivan Yakubets emphasized that expert personnel [firefighters, deminers, etc. – Ed.] from the Ukrainian State Emergency Service have an exemption from military service and cannot be drafted in the Armed Forces.
This is not for the first time that Russian propagandists are making attempts to discredit mobilization efforts in Ukraine and create public opinion that people who are not subject to mobilization are drafted in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. Russians did write about children sent to the ranks of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and that story proved to be fake.
Moreover, Russian propagandists claim that Ukrainian men are grabbed in the street and the lists of evaders are posted on poles. These fake news have already been refuted by Ukrinform.