National Guard denies "false Russian report" about U.S. troops fighting in Ukraine

The National Guard refuted a Russian media report that said three American soldiers had been killed in Ukraine. 

National Guard denies "false Russian report" about U.S. troops fighting in Ukraine

The guard stated in a statement that not only was the report false, but that the soldiers named were not even in Ukraine.

Russian news website Pravda reported that three members of the Tennessee National Guard were killed in Marinka (Ukraine) earlier Thursday. They called them "mercenaries". The National Guard issued a statement that day refuting the claims.

The Tennessee Adjutant General stated that "They are accountedfor, safe, and not, as it erroneously states in the headline, US mercenaries died in Donetsk People's Republic."

According to the statement, the soldiers named in the Russian report were either current or past members of the Tennessee National Guard. The soldiers were targeted after 278th Armored Calvary Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard participated in a 2018 multilateral training mission in Ukraine. Articles from the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service about the mission were published.

More than 200 soldiers supported the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the construction of a combat training centre during the 2018 mission. The statement stated that all Tennessee National Guard members were safe and sound in their return to Tennessee in 2019.

While the war in Ukraine is ongoing, there are growing concerns about Russian disinformation and misinformation efforts. Russia has banned Instagram and closed its independent news outlets. This month, a new law was passed that threatens journalists with long prison sentences for publishing fake information.

Nika Aleksejeva is the Atlantic Council's Digital Forensic Research Lab's lead digital forensic investigator in the Baltic States. She told CBS News that Russia is trying to take control of the information space "as much" as possible, as it works to "demoralize” Ukrainian soldiers and to control the message domestically.

Aleksejeva stated that "The Russian propaganda machine" was working full-time to justify the so-called military operation.


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