Since 2014, Russian propaganda has spread disinformation about illegal organ trade, both involving civilian Ukrainians and soldiers of the AFU. We’ve already debunked the existence of illegal transplant surgeons operating in Kharkiv Oblast. This time, the message that NATO doctors are harvesting organs from soldiers with Zelenskyy’s approval is being spread. We’ve traced this “news” to their origins and checked it. Let’s get to the analysis. 

What happened? 

On November 30, the Nigerian news outlet The Nation (archive) published an article called “NATO doctors perform Ukrainian soldiers’ organ surgeries with Zelenskyy’s approval.” 

The article’s author is “Our Reporter,” a separate author profile on The Nation, with no information about their name or surname. 

So, The Nation reporter seems to talk to a doctor, a former employee of Global Surgical and Medical Support Group (GMSSG). He said he started working within GMSSG on the Gamma project in 2015. 

The article says, “The doctor claims that GSMSG’s goal was harvesting organs of civilians and soldiers in critical and serious conditions. He says “organ donors” have been abducted from Somalia by the US Army.” 

In 2022, this source for The Nation claims to have been personally invited to the Omega project in GMSSG by the organization’s founder, Aaron Apshtein. In this project, Ukrainian soldiers had to be organ donors. 

For his activities in Ukraine, the anonymous doctor was awarded an honorary certificate “For services to Ukrainian people” by the President of Ukraine. 

Then, according to the doctor, he was tired of this job and, because of his guilty conscience, decided to tell [people] what had happened. In the video, he is showing the questionnaire of those who suffered under this illegal organ trade. 

“I killed a lot of people. A lot of innocent soldiers have passed through my hands. They could’ve been saved. I have destroyed many lives for money and for the goals of my employers. I implore my former colleagues, I plead with you, please stop following and refuse to follow these criminal orders. These orders that cause the atrocities, that end lives, please, stop it all,” says this anonymous doctor. 


Operation Omega of the Global Surgical and Medical Support Group

First, we’ve checked the Global Surgical and Medical Support Group information. Back at the beginning of the Russian full-scale invasion, GMSSG went to Ukraine on a medical mission. On their Facebook page, they shared photos of their activities here. For instance, GMSSG conducted tactical medicine training, went out to infirm people who couldn’t get to the medical facilities on their own, trained Ukrainian surgeons, and provided help to the injured.   

The organizations’ activities are public. But we couldn’t find any mention of doctors’ illegal organ trade activities. So, we asked GMSSG for a comment: 

They say, “The article you were citing is so clearly Russian propaganda that it’s not clear if your inquiry is a joke in the first place. Not sure how or why anyone would take that claim seriously about organ harvesting with Zelensky’s approval. That is probably one of the dumbest things that we’ve ever heard of in the medical space. We frankly feel sorry for anyone that even remotely believes that to be true.”

In their comments, GMSSG stated that the man from the video has never worked for them. 

YouTube channel “Stop organ harvesting!” 

We also researched the YouTube channel Stop organ harvesting! (archive), where a video with an anonymous “employee” was published. 

The channel was created over a year ago, on November 22, 2022. The audience channel has 153 subscribers. 

Interestingly, this anonymous video is the only one on the channel. 

Diploma for service to Ukrainian people

As another proof for his word, this volunteer doctor demonstrates an honorary diploma for services to the Ukrainian people (Грамота «За заслуги перед українським народом»). According to him, it was presented to him by Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

In reality, Verkhovna Rada awards this merit, not the President. The certificate in the video also doesn’t look like the actual merit described in the Resolution of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. The diploma of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine has a cover and an attachment. 

The cover is rectangular, 320×440 mm, folded once along the longer side. On the front of the cover is a gold-embossed image of the facade of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine building. A title, Honorary Diploma of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, is inscribed in its center. 

The diploma has to be signed by the Head of Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and sealed with a Verkhovna Rada seal. It’s also awarded along with a badge. 

Verkhovna Rada’s Resolution also says that the Diploma of Verkhovna Rada has to be awarded in a ceremony. Here is an example of the award ceremony where this diploma is presented to professors O. Borysova and V. Voronova. 

So, the certificate displayed by the man in the video is different from the real one and is not official. 


So, this “evidence” of illegal organ trade in Ukraine, once again, doesn’t hold water. The Nation article is built upon the words of an anonymous doctor who provides a fake certificate as evidence and masquerades statements that mostly cannot be verified as facts. Such accounts are more rumors than anything else. 

We also didn’t find any confirmation that people harvest [organs] from the soldiers in Ukraine — we went through international monitoring missions, human rights organizations, or humanitarian missions. Russian propaganda, on the other hand, is frequently pushing this narrative. 

Cases of disinformation like this one were debunked by our colleagues, fact-checkers of VoxCheck, the Center for Countering Disinformation, and the Center for Strategic Communication and Information Safety, as well.

So, The Notion article about illegal organ trade in Ukraine is another fake. It’s not the first fake this outlet produces — e.g., there’s the fake news about Olena Zelenska buying Cartier jewelry for millions of dollars that we’ve debunked before. Later, we found out this disinformation has Russian origins. 

Don’t forget to stay vigilant. Always check the information you see and, when in doubt, ping us on @perevir_bot.

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Conclusion: Fake

Analysts for the article: Alesia Yashchenko, Vasylyna Haviak, Yuliana Topolnyk

Gwara Media has a fact-checking department and fact-checking bot Perevirka, which people use to send us news/posts for verification. We debunk fakes and manipulations spread by Russian propaganda — and expose how it’s constructed and distributed. Buy us a coffee to support and cheer up our fact-checkers.