„While the notion of drafting retarded individuals may sound insane and abusive, just 8 percent of Ukrainian citizens are willing to take up arms against Russia, and with poll numbers like that, it makes more sense why the Zelensky regime would be attracted to soldiers who cannot grasp the concept of death,“ the article continues.

According to Vanglaplaneet, „teams of conscription officers are kidnapping 14-year-old boys to fill the ranks of the army“. In Ukraine, a large number of teenagers and elderly people have already been recruited, according to the portal.

Vanglaplaneet’s article is translated into Estonian from the American far-right conspiracy theory and disinformation website InfoWars, which, in turn, quotes the Russian propaganda channel Russia Today.


  • The alleged video filmed by a Ukrainian soldier of a comrade with Down’s syndrome is a fake produced by Russian propaganda.

  • On April 1, Ukraine’s president signed a law lowering the age of conscription from 27 to 25. On April 11, Ukraine’s parliament also adopted a new mobilisation law amending the rules for army mobilisation.

  • The new law does not contain anything on the mobilisation of teenagers, the elderly, or people with special needs. All the previous rules on military eligibility are maintained.

The alleged video of a 19-year-old Ukrainian soldier with Down syndrome was first broadcast by Russian media and Telegram channels in late December 2023. The Kremlin-controlled channels claim that the then Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Valerii Zaluzhnyi, had previously announced the mobilisation of disabled people. In March, the same video started circulating on US far-right channels and social media. In early April, the video also reached Estonian portal and social media.

A screenshot from the Telegram channel of Russian propagandist and broadcaster Olga Skabeyeva. The video was also shown on several Russian national TV channels.

The video shows the TikTok username “uvoin19”, allegedly the source of the video. To date, no such channel or video with the text “Воха чергує” (Voha at work) exists on TikTok. It is impossible to determine from the public WebArchive whether the account has ever posted such a video.

Ukrainian media have previously reported on a soldier with the nickname “Воха” (Voha). Still, he has a completely different appearance compared to the man in the video circulated by Russian propaganda. Neither the Ukrainian nor the Western media have published the video or otherwise reported the alleged incident.

The video does not prove that there is indeed a Ukrainian soldier who also has Down syndrome. For example, his uniform doesn’t have a specific brigade symbol or a green, yellow, or blue stripe. Although the video was allegedly taken on the front line, the man is not wearing any additional equipment or even a helmet. Although the video was allegedly filmed in winter, he is wearing wellies.

It is impossible to determine from the video where and when it was filmed, but the voice of the cameraman can be heard in the video, who, according to Ukrainian fact-checkers, has also appeared in previous Russian fakes. They have the same specific Ukrainian speech, inflection, and intonation.

According to Ukrainian law, people with Down syndrome cannot serve in the military. The law also lays down precise rules on the diseases and conditions that make people ineligible for military service.

Under the new mobilisation law, teenagers, the elderly, the disabled, or people with special needs will not be recruited. As in the past, all disabled persons will be exempted from military service and mobilisation, regardless of their disability group. Those included in the second or third disability group after 24 February 2022 will have to undergo an additional medical examination.

The new law obliges men to update their recruitment records, increases volunteer fees, and adds a new penalty for evading recruitment.

As there is no evidence that the video is of Ukrainian servicemen, and as the video was first shown on Russian propaganda channels, it can be concluded that it’s fake. This way, Russia is once again trying to smear the Ukrainian army, mobilisation, and health system in general. The Kremlin’s narrative is that Ukraine, struggling with a shortage of soldiers, is forcibly sending invalids, the elderly, and children to the front.

In the past, Faktikontroll has repeatedly refuted similar allegations and fabrications about the Ukrainian army and mobilisation.

Verdict: false. The video of a man with alleged Down syndrome being mocked in a trench, distributed by Vanglaplaneet, is a Russian propaganda hoax. According to both the previous and the new mobilisation laws, Ukraine does not recruit people with disabilities or special needs, teenagers, or the elderly.