Russian propaganda often lies about losses sustained by the Ukrainian military to hide their own losses in the war against Ukraine and to erode trust in the country’s political and military leadership. As such, recently, the information that Ukraine has officially confirmed the death of 200,000 troops appeared only. It’s false. Let’s debunk this fake step-by-step. 

What happened? 

A Telegram channel, Укропский фреш (archive), shared the news that Ukraine allegedly confirmed the death of at least 200,000 Ukrainian troops in the Russian-Ukrainian war. 

To back up their statement, the authors publish a screenshot of a petition from the President of Ukraine’s website about posthumously awarding a soldier an honorary Hero of Ukraine title. 

The petition is assigned a number №22/216272-еп

Propagandists state that this number shows the number of petitions created asking the President to award the Hero of Ukraine title to fallen soldiers. By their logic, that approximately matches the general number of Ukrainian troops who died: “216,272.” 


As of April 22, 2024, the President of Ukraine’s website hosts about 846,000 petitions (on 4,230 pages with 20 petitions per page.) Every petition gets a number after publishing. The newest — as of publishing this fact-check piece on the Ukrainian version of our website — is №22/224596-еп.

Now, according to the website’s rules, the website’s administration checks all petitions for compliance with requirements established by the Law of Ukraine “Of Citizens Appeals.” 

A petition isn’t published if it doesn’t comply with the law. 

As a consequence, the number of published petitions and the digits in the last number (№22/224596-еп) don’t match because some petitions were rejected because of not being compliant with the law. 

Next, we’ve sorted all petitions by the topic “Awarding honorary titles” [“Нагородження, присвоєння почесних звань”] As of April 22, 2024, this topic contains 4,826 petitions. 

Also, as it occurred, authors published similar petitions into other categories: “Without a topic,” “Defence, sovereignty, international and interstate affairs” [“Обороноздатність, суверенітет, міждержавні і міжнаціональні відносини.”]  

So, we needed to cover all the website’s topics and avoid the differences in spelling of the keywords required for a search for petitions to posthumously award the Hero of Ukraine title (In Ukrainian, these keywords would be: Герой України (посмертно), Героя України (посмертно), Герою України (посмертно), and others.) 

We searched the website using the keyword “posthumously.” 

Even within the results of such a generic search query, we’ve found only 5,740 petitions, not 200,000 as propagandists say. 

Moreover, among those petitions, some aren’t related to Ukrainian troops who died in the full-scale Russian-Ukrainian war. 

Official statistics

On February 25, 2024, at a press conference for the forum “Ukraine. Year 2024,” President Zelenskyy said that 31,000 Ukrainian troops died after the Russian full-scale invasion. 

“31,000 Ukrainian troops died in this war. Not 300,000, not 150,000, like Putin [says in his] lies from his deceiving circle. But each of those losses is huge for us,” Zelenskyy said. 

So, the numbers in the petition on the President’s website simply indicate the serial number automatically assigned to a petition. 

It has no connection to the number of Ukrainian soldiers who died. 

Conclusion: Fake 

Ihor Sum worked on this debunking piece, and Yana Sliemzina translated and adapted his text for English-speaking audiences. Support our fact-checking efforts on Patreon, BMC, or Paypal, and join us in the fight against Russian propaganda. 

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