Social media posts claim a video of two camouflaged individuals dragging a man shows an attempt to stage footage of Ukrainian troops in combat. This is false; the clip was filmed by a center that offers military skills training for civilians.
“‘Ukrainian fighters are very brave and courageous. No one is abandoned,'” says a Facebook post published July 26, 2023. “And, oh, sorry, the camera person got into the shot, let’s do it again! Oscar-worthy actors serve in the AFU!”
The video shows two men dressed in combat gear apparently pulling an injured comrade to safety. A woman wearing a reflective vest and holding a camera appears in the background.
The caption, which references the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU), implies the video is evidence of an attempt to stage footage from the country’s war with Russia. Similar posts have spread in German, French, Polish, Slovak and Russian.
But the clip is not from live combat operations — it was uploaded by a center that offers training for civilians in Kremenchuk, a city in central Ukraine along the Dnieper River.
Clues on TikTok
The footage shared online bears the watermark of a Telegram channel called “The Military Theme Z,” where the video was posted July 25 with a Russian caption saying: “We are monitoring Ukrainian TikTok.”
The account published the video July 24 with a Ukrainian caption that says: “It is better to test yourself and really evaluate your strengths during training tasks.” The post (archived here) includes hashtags mentioning “Kremenchuk,” “education,” “Ukraine” and “dftg12.”
@yar0slav_yar0slav Краще випробувати себе та реально оцінити свої сили, під час навчальних задач…
#кременчук#вишкіл#україна#дфтг12♬ оригінальний звук – Ярослав
DTFG12 is a reference to Educational and Training Center 12, which says on social networks that it trains civilians in basic military skills.
Footage, pictures from same event
“The next test, after completing the 5-week Basic Military Training Course for Civilians, in the ranks of the NTC12,” one post caption says.
The head of the center, Jaroslav Panasko, told AFP in an August 11 email that the video was taken during the final part of a five-week training course, as the Facebook post describes. The participants practiced pulling a wounded man out of a combat zone so they could stabilize him.
“In this case, our photographer got into the shot,” Panasko said.
He said last year the group set up a volunteer territorial defense organization “teaching civilians basic military skills — safe handling of weapons, infantry tactics, tactical medicine.” The regional military administration in Lviv, another part of Ukraine, published additional information about the efforts (archived here).
Authorities in October 2022 disbanded volunteer formations in the area, but Panasko said the center continued similar work in a different form.
“We work in the format of an NGO. We have no legal contacts with the Armed Forces, but we often cooperate at various events,” Panasko said.
AFP has debunked numerous false claims about the Russian invasion of Ukraine since the conflict began in February 2022.