KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The National Guard Bureau of Public Affairs is denying a report by a Russian news agency that claimed Tennessee National Guard members were killed while fighting in Ukraine.

The bureau says Russian media outlet Pravada on Thursday falsely accused the three current or former members of the Tennessee National Guard as being “mercenaries.” The Russian report went on to say the three died while fighting in Donetsk.

“They are accounted for, safe and not, as the article headline erroneously states, US mercenaries killed in Donetsk People’s Republic,” a bureau release states.

The three guardsmen, named in the Russian report, included members of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment headquartered in Knoxville. The regiment’s social media pages shared images of the Russian news report.

The Bureau of Public Affairs believes the three were “targeted” by Russian media because they were part of a training group that went in 2018 to Ukraine. The National Guard says during that mission more than 200 soldiers helped Ukrainian armed forces develop a combat training center.