The Russian ‘military operation’ in Ukraine entered its fifth day on Monday. Though Ukrainian authorities claimed that “Russian occupiers have reduced the pace of the offensive”, Belarus’ actions in support of Russia- as reported by AP- could further escalate the crisis. Social media platforms are a source of regular updates on the crisis and are flooded with visuals from Ukrainian cities. One such image showing two children claiming to show them “paying their respect to Ukraine troops” is being shared widely in context to the ongoing conflict. Newschecker has found the viral image to be old and unrelated to the current #RussiaUkraineConflict.
In the viral image, two children appear to be watching a group of soldiers on tanks with Ukrainian flags passing by. Several Twitter users have shared the image showing “true patriotism.”
The image claiming to show children paying respect to Ukrainian troops as they head to fight Russians is doing the rounds on Facebook and Instagram as well.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had announced a ‘military operation’ in Ukraine on February 24 and vowed retaliation against those who interfere in the matter. Soon after, several countries including the US, the UK, Germany, among others levied severe sanctions on Russia. Furthermore, on Sunday, Putin directed his defence minister and chief of the military’s General Staff to put the country’s nuclear deterrent forces in a “special regime of combat duty.” Meanwhile, Ukraine has agreed to hold peace talks with Russia at the Belarus border.
We conducted a reverse image search on Yandex and found several articles published since 2016 carrying the same image. The same image was uploaded on March 23, 2016 on a website called ‘Penoptep UA’, with the title in Ukrainian which roughly translates to ‘The Ministry of Defense showed pictures of the children of the Ukrainian military. A photo.’
According to the report, the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine had published a “series of photographs called Children of War” on its official Facebook Page.
Another news report, also dated March 23, 2016, carried the same image. According to the report, “The press centre of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine published on its Facebook page a series of touching photos of Ukrainian servicemen with children.” The images were credited to photographer Dmytro Muravsky.
The link to the Ukrainian Defence Ministry’s post provided in the article did not open when accessed from a desktop. However, the link opened on the Facebook application on the phone.
We found that a series of images, including the viral image of the children, were posted on the verified Facebook page of the Ukrainian Ministry Of Defence, as part of an album called “Children of War” on March 22, 2016, which a caption that translates to “For us dear parents, dear children, loved ones, relatives; but all notions of love to something are combined in one word ‘Homeland.’ Thanks for the incredible photos from the album “Children of War” by author Dmitry Muravsky.”
As reported by Washington Post Muravsky is an amateur photographer who used to volunteer with Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence till August 2016. His association with the Defence Ministry reportedly ended after the authenticity of a different photograph came into question.
The photograph of the two children, however, was uploaded on his Facebook page on March 22, 2016, and can be accessed here and carries Muravsky’s watermark on the bottom right.
The viral image claiming to show two children “paying their respect” to Ukrainian troops amid the Russian invasion was posted on the official Facebook page of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry in 2016 and is unrelated to the ongoing clashes between Ukraine and Russia.
Result: False Context/False
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