The Kremlin media vied with each other to report: 40 fighters of the Armed Forces of Ukraine were poisoned to death by dumplings received from volunteers. Rossiyskaya Gazeta writes :
“It is noted that some people handed dumplings to the 30th separate mechanized brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, after eating which 40 fighters died. After that, Ukrainian units were banned from accepting humanitarian aid from “unverified” volunteers.”
The same news is spread by Moskovsky Komsomolets, Vzglyad, Vechernyaya Moskva, Arguments and Facts, and they also refer to the RT Telegram channel. RT war correspondent Murad Gazdiev published a voice message that he allegedly found on the phone of a deceased paratrooper of the 70th Airmobile Brigade of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and it was dated as early as January.
Gazdiev published another message from the phone of the deceased Ukrainian paratrooper - that the fighters were constantly delayed in payments and the mood in the brigade was decadent - but the 77th airmobile brigade was already mentioned there. At the same time, in Gazdiev’s posts there are photographs of the phone screen with chats in Signal and WhatsApp, which are called the same - “Brothers 3” - and in which the same nicknames occur. That is, Gazdiev for some reason changed his mind about the number of the brigade.
The voice message about the mass poisoning of dumplings, as journalist Ilya Shepelin points out , had appeared several times before in different chat rooms. In the chat that got into Gazdiev's message, it was posted by a user with the nickname marjankopuk . This nickname is found only once on the net: it belongs to a resident of Lviv, who placed ads on the OLX trading platform for the sale of a baby crib and a faulty microwave oven. This bears little resemblance to first-hand information and rather resembles an oral story in the genre of "horror stories" - one of those that, in the course of transmission from one storyteller to another, acquires terrifying details.
Of course, there is no information on the network about fatal poisoning in the 30th brigade. But a likely source can still be found. In May 2014, the online publication From UA published an article under the heading "Sabotage: Ukrainian military was poisoned with dumplings", which stated :
“At the location of the National Guard under smt. Novoaidar, Luhansk region, there was a massive food poisoning - the soldiers were fed poor-quality dumplings. In total, several dozen children were hospitalized with signs of acute gastric upset. Journalists learned about this from the words of the victims. <…>
“I immediately felt that there was something wrong with the meat in dumplings. I also asked the chef what these dumplings were called, he said that they were made by 'Drygalo'. I was very hungry, so I finished my portion, and an hour later my stomach grabbed. Half an hour later, it turned out that many guys had the same problems, ”said the conscript.
Doctors refuse to comment on the situation on the recorder, but in a private conversation they say that dumplings, or rather minced meat, really became the cause of the mass poisoning of the military.
“Samples of minced meat, which were seized from dumplings of TM “Drygalo”, were sent for examination. We suspect that there may be salmonella. Unfortunately, our military became hostages of the negligence of businessmen-philanthropists, who handed over a large batch of contaminated dumplings to the location of the military unit. Now the condition of patients is stable, they are receiving appropriate assistance. We are also watching those guys who are now in the unit and supposedly feel fine. There is a risk that after some time a new focus of exacerbation may occur, ”the doctors say.”
As you can see, in the original story, the soldiers suffered only acute food poisoning, there was no danger to life. But oral folk art develops according to its own laws, and after 8–9 years, human sacrifices already appeared in the plot. Perhaps two stories are mixed up here - among folklorists this is called contamination. In November 2022, former Defense Minister Anatoly Gritsenko spoke about the fatal poisoning with dumplings (in no way connected with the Armed Forces of Ukraine). During a time when power was often cut off in Ukrainian cities due to Russian missile attacks on energy infrastructure, he wrote on Facebook:
“Keep an eye on refrigerators/freezers, especially when you're away and when you don't know how long the power goes out at home. If meat or fish products are defrosted, then frozen again, and you did not know about it, there may be trouble. <...> I know a case when people returned home after a long departure and were severely poisoned by dumplings that were in the freezer, the doctors could not save a young woman.
It seems that two different stories about dangerous dumplings somehow merged into one monstrous plot. Of course, nowhere on the net, except for the Kremlin media, referring to the message allegedly found by Gazdiev on the phone of the deceased soldier, no one knows which brigade, there are no traces of this poisoning.