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- This unfounded claim originated on a website known for publishing misinformation.
In March, we fact-checked a claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin vowed to "crush" child traffickers in Ukraine. It’s wrong: There’s no evidence to support it, Russia has its own human trafficking problems, and the story originated on a website known for sharing misinformation.
That same website is now the source for an even more elaborate claim.
"PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN RELEASED 35,000 CHILDREN FROM TUNNELS AND SUBWAY IN UKRAINE," an April 16 Facebook post says. "He informed President Donald Trump that his ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine has freed 35,000 children from slavery in what he called ‘Eastern Europe’s relationship with the global sale of especially young children,’ shares a source from Mar-a- Lago, introduced to conversations between the two most powerful leaders in the world."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The post also shares a link to an April 5 post on Real Raw News, which relays that claim nearly verbatim. We’ve reported extensively on Real Raw News, both debunking the outlandish and inaccurate allegations it publishes, and investigating the person responsible for the site.
There is absolutely no evidence to support the claim that Putin has freed 35,000 children in Ukraine, a country he’s invaded, or anywhere else. There are no credible sources nor news reports to support this.
Searching for evidence that Putin saved thousands of children, we only found articles reporting that Russian police jailed several children for leaving flowers at Ukraine’s embassy in Moscow.
We rate this post Pants on Fire!
Facebook post, April 16, 2022
PolitiFact, There is no evidence that Putin invaded Ukraine to fight child trafficking, March 18, 2022
PolitiFact, Hangings, guillotines and Gitmo: Going behind Real Raw News’ sensational (and fabricated) headlines, Sept. 24, 2021
Real Raw News, Putin Frees 35,000 Imprisoned Children in Ukraine, April 5, 2022
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