Ukraine Dating Site Targets Foreign Men With Facebook Ads Amid Russia's War

A matchmaking service aimed at connecting Ukrainian women with foreign men has sharply stepped up its Facebook advertising amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

UkraineDate is a dating website that states its mission as helping "people from Ukrainian and Western backgrounds to find their perfect match." It is owned by Cupid Media, an Australian company that operates various online dating services.

On the UkraineDate website, many male users from around the world have mentioned the war on their profiles, mostly to express solidarity with Ukraine.

A handful of them, however, appear to be trawling the platform for Ukrainian women who are looking to flee their country. One Canadian man offered up his home in exchange for day-to-day household help and sex.

Woman walks in Borodianka, Ukraine
A woman walks in front of destroyed buildings in the Ukrainian town of Borodianka on April 6, 2022. While Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine, a dating site aimed at matching foreign men to Ukrainian women has amped up its advertising. GENYA SAVILOV/AFP via Getty Images

According to Facebook's Ad Library, UkraineDate—which claims to have over 800,000 members—ran a single Facebook ad on February 3, weeks before the war.

However, it became prolific after the conflict began on February 24, posting at least 30 ads in March and April. The latest ad was launched on Wednesday.

For the most part, the ads contain photos of women with slogans in languages such as Italian, Spanish, German, Dutch, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Polish, and Turkish.

In English, the caption says: "Start meeting Ukrainian women; thought by many to be the most beautiful women in the world!"

A few of the ads seemed to be aimed at women in Ukraine, as they displayed photos of men and the following slogan in Ukrainian: "Meet single foreigners and start your success story."

Most of the ads also ran on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

Newsweek has asked UkraineDate and Cupid Media for comment.

On websites dedicated to matching Western men with brides-to-be in Ukraine, Ukrainian women have been portrayed as more feminine and adherent to traditional gender roles than women in the West.

A number of mail order bride services—a popular choice for men looking to marry Ukrainian women—are still up and running, but said they were forced to shift their operations in Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict.

Dating apps were also inevitably pulled into the chaos of Russia's war on Ukraine. Tinder was reported to have been used by Russian soldiers in Ukraine, as well as Ukrainians seeking safe haven abroad.

A group of Slovakians launched the "Special Love Operation," which calls on Tinder users to deliver images of war-torn Ukraine to Russians through the app. Participants are asked to take photos of themselves holding up pictures of scenes from Ukraine to add to their profiles, then switch their locations to Russia using a paid Tinder feature.