Arab news websites and social media pages claimed that “weapons have become free in Ukraine and are being distributed to the entire population to confront the Russian invasion.” The claim was accompanied by pictures of armed young people with Eastern European characteristics.
The Kuwaiti newspaper (Al-Ghad) published the calim above on its website on February 12, 2022, accompanied by a photo of a young man armed with a Russian rifle.
The claim gained a great deal of popularity after many pages and accounts on various social networking sites contributed. You will find a number of them in the claim’s sources table at the end of the article.
Refute the claim
Verify-Sy team conducted an advanced search using keywords related to the claim that “weapons have become free in Ukraine and are distributed to the entire population to counter the Russian invasion,” and it turned out to be fabricated.
The statement of the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior Affairs of the September 4, 2020 version, containing the instructions for dealing with weapons in the country from production, acquisition, storage and transfer, indicates that any person who wishes to acquire any gun with a caliber of more than 4.5 mm and a speed of fire exceeding 100 meters per second - here means air guns Which are usually used for hunting - requires a special permit from the competent authorities.
What is the truth of the photos accompanying the claim?
Using reverse search techniques for images provided by search engines, we revealed the truth about the relationship between these images and the circulating claim, as for the first image that shows a young man carrying a Russian rifle known as “Ak-47” turned out to be unreal and just a simulation and training model.
Young Oleg, aged 13, is a Ukrainian who volunteered to undergo military training prepared by the Georgian National Corps in Kyiv on Tuesday, February 8, 2022, and the same young man appears in a report prepared by (WION) channel that spoke about the course that Oleg underwent:
As for the second picture, it is not from Ukraine, and the results showed that the oldest version of it was attached to a post on Redditon March 31, 2020 as showing a “girl armed with an “AK” rifle riding a train from Belarus,” and its appearance on the Internet at an earlier date denies Relationship to the recent Russian-Ukrainian crisis.
Invitations to mobilize in Ukraine
With Russia amassing its forces on its entire border with Ukraine, with more than 100,000 soldiers, there has been much talk in the recent period about its invasion of Ukraine among individuals and the media, which was criticized by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, stressing that he did not see any evidence that Russia was planning an invasion in the days coming.
Despite this, the trainingof the Ukrainian army and police has increased in scope and intensity in preparation for any emergency, and this is not limited to the Ukrainian military, but also civilians, as a number of them have begun military training.
Whereas, the "Areas Protection Units" or "Regional Defense Forces" - which are units comprising reservists and veterans, as well as civilian volunteer groups established in 2014 and considered part of the Ukrainian army - began to organize and carry out their tasks after the entry into force of the Law of "National Resistance" in Ukraine.
So, special training for these forces was launched. Hundreds of civilians participated, and he learned the main rules regarding the nature of life in light of war, such as ways to protect homes and shelters and first aid and firefighting.
1- The claim that “weapons became free in Ukraine and distributed to the entire population to counter the Russian invasion” is false.
2- By looking at the Ukrainian official sources, we did not find any supportive results for what was stated in the claim.
3- The pictures that accompanied the claim do not show the arming of the Ukrainian people and the spread of arms in the country.
4. Hundreds of civilians in Ukraine voluntarily undergo life-in-war training.
Verify Media Platform (Verify) is an independent and unbiased platform specialized in fact-checking established in Syria in early 2016 to counter the spread of misinformation. We envision a democratic society that ensures citizens' right to access the truth without distortion or misleading.
Verify is registered in Turkey as an NGO under the number 27-027-110 and the name “Doğru Medya Derneği” in late 2021. In addition, Verify is a verified signatory of the International Fact-Checker Network (IFCN) and a trusted partner of Facebook in the MENA region since 2019.