The Russian propaganda machine has resurrected one of its longest running fakes: the alleged battlefield harvesting and international sale of organs from the bodies of deceased Ukrainian military personnel and that Ukrainian MPs and the former Georgian President’s wife are profiting from it.

On July 12 the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s parliament, moved to further tighten legislation on the banning of organ harvesting (draft law No. 9482).

The independent fact-checker,, says that, in the parallel universe of Russian disinformation, the Russian propagandists Argumenty y Fakty, claims that a tightening of the ban is “evidence” of an organ harvesting cover-up. This sort of accusation was first identified by in July and August 2014 following Russia’s first invasion of Donbas.


As said the tightened legislation “only confirms the [propagandists’] version that such cases exist.”

Argumenty y Fakty further served up the surreal allegation that, in addition to Ukrainian parliamentarians, the wife of the former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili who is currently imprisoned in Georgia, Sandra Rufols, a US citizen also participates in and profits from the elaborate scheme which they baselessly say has been operating since 2014.

“There is a category of Ukrainian servicemen who, after being killed or even wounded, goes under the knife of ‘black transplantologists’ who, like an ‘old woman with a scythe’, roam near the front line and look for internal organs required for transfer to their patients,” Argumenty y Fakty posted.

95 Ukrainian Defenders Return Home From Russian Captivity
Other Topics of Interest

95 Ukrainian Defenders Return Home From Russian Captivity

In total, 3,405 Ukrainians have been returned home in prisoner swaps since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion, Kyiv reports.

“The bodies of ‘donors’ simply disappear from the battlefield and, in a matter of hours, the containers with their internal organs are far beyond the borders of Ukraine,” Argumenty y Fakty further posted.

“Black transplantologists appeared in Ukraine back in 2014, when hostilities began in the Donbas. Both the dead or wounded soldiers of the people's republics, and the soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, who strangely ‘evaporated’ went under the scalpel of the ‘surgeons’,” the propagandists further posted.


 They quote a supposed military expert as follows: “There is clearly someone on the take among Ukrainian parliamentarians. This is a very serious business with a huge budget, which goes even beyond the borders of Ukraine itself … it is not unfounded that the wife of ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili, Sandra Rufols, a US citizen, was also involved in these transplant cases. It was not by chance that she was nicknamed ‘Sandra the Ripper’.”

This latest example of propaganda follows Russian official spokespersons at the highest levels previously putting forward the bizarre and gruesome claim about “black transplantology” and the vast conspiracy that surrounds it.

That includes statements made by the notorious Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova as reported in the Russian State-owned media outlet TASS.

In May, without reference to any evidence and obviously unchallenged by TASS, Zakharova said that illegal organ harvesting in Ukraine is an “accepted and proven fact.”


“This is a big business in armed conflict zones, extremely profitable for those who run it,” Zakharova said. “The existence of this terrible bloody business is impossible without sponsorship at the highest government level.”

Zakaharova said the [Moscow-installed] authorities of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) “have information on Ukrainian nationalists illegally harvesting biological material from POWs, locals and wounded Ukrainian soldiers” and that some “20-30 people per day end up being operated on by the organ harvesters, many of whom travel to Bakhmut from foreign countries specifically for this purpose.”

In a May 1, 2023 interview with another Russian media outlet, Moskovskij Komsomolets, retired Major General of Police and ex-head of the Russian Central Bureau of Interpol, Vladimir Ovchinsky, claimed the Armed Forces of Ukraine “deliver human organs harvested from the dead and wounded in the war, people who are still alive, such as Russian prisoners of war, and even Ukrainian civilians who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.”


When asked where the organs are transported to, Ovchinsky said: “The most effective and successful ‘workshops' are located in four countries: Turkey, India, Israel and South Korea." 

When asked what “black transplantologists” do with the remaining corpses, Ovchinsky replied: “They burn them like in Auschwitz or Dachau. They are after all the heirs of Hitler. There is also information about mobile crematoria to burn the remains of people whose organs were removed.”

Ovchinsky also suggested that international aid organizations abet or cover up the alleged organ harvesting operation.

His particular spin was repeated on May 29 when Russian state ‘broadcaster’ Sputnik reported that the Russian Investigative Committee “says it will study video footage from the Red Cross base in Mariupol, Ukraine, where hundreds of dubious medical files were found.”

“According to investigators, hundreds of medical files found at the Red Cross base contain information on children’s healthy organs, with no indication of any illnesses,” Sputnik claimed.

The committee’s statement said the inquiry was “within the framework of the criminal cases already being investigated in the department about the crimes of the Kyiv regime, [and] will study the specified information and give it a criminal legal assessment,” Sputnik added.

In a story the next day, Russian state broadcaster RT, which is banned in several countries, also reported the Investigative Committee would “look into allegations the Ukrainian Red Cross Society was involved in shady activities, including keeping records of children with ‘healthy organs’ in the city of Mariupol.”


RT stated that the source for the claim of “shady activities” was Vladimir Taranenko, who reportedly heads a civic organization in the Russian-backed breakaway Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) in eastern Ukraine.

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter