Online Video Misrepresents Ukraine’s Conscription of Women in War with Russia

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Quick Take

Ukraine began requiring women with medical and pharmaceutical backgrounds to register for the military on Oct. 1 and remain in the country in the event they are called into service. But a video, posted by a YouTube show that frequently spreads misinformation, misleadingly claims that Ukraine ordered all women ages 18 to 60 to “report for duty.”


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U.S. officials estimated in August that 70,000 Ukrainian troops have been killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. On the Russian side, the U.S. officials say there have been about 120,000 deaths and up to 180,000 injured soldiers.

The heavy Ukrainian casualties are partly due to limited medical facilities and staff on the front lines, the New York Times reported in August. Combat medics are often unable to get to casualties on the battlefield, and hospitals can’t handle the number of wounded.

Now, the country is requiring women with medical backgrounds to register at enlistment offices. Women in this group are prohibited from leaving the country.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry published Order No. 313 in December 2021, requiring all Ukrainian women ages 18 to 60 in more than 100 professions to register at enlistment offices. The order had called for registration by the end of 2022, but the Ukrainian Defense Minister postponed Order No. 313’s registration requirement until Oct. 1, 2023.

The order came in response to Russia’s increased military presence near Ukraine’s border. But the order was precautionary — it does not require universal conscription of women, nor does it require women to serve in combat.

The Ukrainian Armed Forces issued a statement saying, “All medical women, these are doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, pharmacists, ages 18 to 60, will be required to register for military service starting October 1,” CNN reported on Sept. 8. The military did not require registration for women in other professions, the Kyiv Post reported.

But a video shared on Facebook on Oct. 4 misrepresents the Ukrainian military requirement that went into effect Oct. 1. The headline on the video reads, “Ukraine Has Run Out Of Men. Women Must Report For Duty!”

The video is a segment from the YouTube show Redacted, hosted by Clayton Morris and his wife, Natali. The show has previously spread misinformation about COVID-19, as we’ve written.

“Ukraine has passed a new law on military registration of all women conscripts. It’s now enforced as of the first of October. The obligation applies to all Ukrainian women between the ages of 18 and 60,” Clayton Morris misleadingly claims, as viewers see a headline that reads, “Ukrainian women to be conscripted as the country faces Russian forces.”

Morris is a former host of Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” and a real estate investor who moved with his wife to Portugal following allegations of fraud by former clients.

Since the war in Ukraine began, Morris has amplified Russian talking points and been featured on RT, the Russian-controlled news network.

Order Does Not Apply to All Women

Since the activation of Order No. 313 on Oct. 1, the Ukrainian Defense Ministry has selectively enforced the order, Jessica Trisko Darden, associate professor of political science at Virginia Commonwealth University, told FactCheck.org in a phone interview.

The types of professional work covered by Order No. 313 “are not comprehensive,” explained Trisko Darden, who has researched the role of women in the Ukrainian military. The Defense Ministry has decided to selectively apply the order’s registration requirement as certain professions are needed, Trisko Darden said.

“Registration for the draft is not mobilization. Ukraine has always said that they will not compel women into combat roles,” Trisko Darden said.

Officials have not said whether women would serve as medics in combat zones, she said. But Trisko Darden expects at least some of these women to administer medications and provide medical aid in hospitals, as needed.

So Morris’ claim that Ukraine is requiring “all Ukrainian women” to register with the military is misleading, as we said.

Order No. 313 does not require all Ukrainian women to register, and the Defense Ministry is currently only enforcing the order’s registration requirement for women with certain medical and pharmaceutical backgrounds.

It’s worth noting that Ukrainian women have had combat roles and other responsibilities in supporting their country’s armed forces. More than 60,000 women voluntarily serve in the military.


Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.

Sources

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