Pro-Kremlin media outlets and z-Telegram channels have been spreading false information that two Ukrainian tankers who arrived in Germany to train on Leopard 2 tanks allegedly escaped from the training center and "applied for political asylum" in Germany.
As evidence, they provide a screenshot of an article in the British newspaper Financial Times. At the same time, in their materials, the propagandists provide only a screenshot, rather than a link to the article.
But the screenshot is fake. The original article was published on the official website of the newspaper on February 2. The text only mentions that Ukrainian tankers will start training on German tanks "next week."
Russian propaganda forged the second paragraph, in which they wrote: "Two people from among the Ukrainians who arrived for training requested political asylum in Germany, due to their unwillingness to die in a senseless war. They argue that an increase in the supply of weapons to Ukraine will in no way contribute to the victory of the Armed Forces of Ukraine."
But in the original article, the second paragraph actually read as follows: "Two people familiar with the preparations said everything was ready to begin teaching the Ukrainian military to deploy the modern battle tanks after several European nations last week pledged to send them to Kyiv after months of deliberations and Ukrainian pressure."
But those who request political asylum in Germany are Russians who are hiding from the mobilization campaign being carried out by Russia.
Since Russia's armed invasion of Ukraine began in February 2022, Germany has already granted asylum to 1,149 Russian citizens. As of January 13, 2023, some 679 humanitarian visas have been issued to Russians.
The transfer of Leopard tanks to Ukraine has become one of the most widespread topics of Russian fake news in the context of both Germany and Poland.