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Old Images Of Ukrainian President In Military Uniform Go Viral Amid Russian Attack 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is under global spotlight and receiving accolades for his ‘courage’, ‘bravery’ and ‘spirit’  amid Russian ‘military operations.’ Several images of Zelensky in a military uniform are doing the rounds on social media with users claiming that he is “on the field with his army.” However, Newschecker has found out that these images are old and being shared out of context.

Twitter users have shared several images of Zelensky claiming that he “took off” his Presidential suit and “put on a uniform to join the troops in fighting” for Ukraine amid Russian invasion.

  

Know More About Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Volodymyr Zelensky, 44-year-old, was elected as the Ukrainian President in 2019. Before that he was a popular TV comedian and actor.  In 2015, Zelensky starred in a show called “Servant of the People,” in which he played a school teacher who wakes up to find that a rant he made against corrupt politicians went viral and opened his way to presidency. This reel-life drama eventually turned into reality with Zelensky announcing his candidacy for president under the “Servant of the People” party in 2018 and winning with a huge margin.

Read our other fact checks related to the Russian-Ukrainian crisis hereherehere and here.

Fact Check/Verification 

Newschecker started to verify the authenticity of each image one by one.

Image 1

We conducted a google reverse search for the image and found a report by Reuters, dated April 21, 2021, with the caption ‘Ukraine’s Zelensky to Putin: Meet me for peace talks in conflict zone.

The report carried the viral image of Zelensky in military uniform with the caption ‘Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass region, Ukraine April 9, 2021.’

Another report by Turkey’s duvaR.English  from 2021 carried the same image of Zelensky with the same caption. 

Image 2

Newschecker conducted Google reverse search on the second viral image and found a report by i24News, dated December 14, 2021, with the title ‘Ukraine accuses Germany of blocking NATO weapons supply’.

The report carried Zelensky viral image with the caption, “Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visits combat positions and meets with servicemen at the frontline with Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region of Ukraine, on December 6, 2021.”

The image also featured with the same caption in the report by RT dated January 25, 2022.

Image 3

We ran a Google reverse image search for the third viral image of Zelensky in the military uniform and found a report by The Conservation, dated December 9, 2021, with the title ‘Ukraine: crisis between Russia and the west in the region has been brewing for 30 years.’

The report carried the Ukrainian President’s viral image with the caption, “Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, visiting troops on the frontline with pro-Russian separatists in the Donbas region.”

Image 4

Newschecker found that the fourth image was published in a website called 112UA on 26 October 2019 in a report titled ‘Disengagement of forces in Donbas: Zelensky stays in Zolote for second day.

The caption of the image read, “The president of Ukraine communicates with the military and local citizens. “

Image 5

Newschecker conducted a Google reverse image search for the sixth picture and came across a report by Bild, dated February 17, 2022. The report carried a similar image.

Taking clues from the report, we conducted some keyword search and found the viral image was posted by Paul Ronzheimer, a reporter at ‘BILD-Zeitung’, on his verified Twitter account on February 17, 2022. 

He shared the image with a caption, “President of Ukraine just minutes ago at the frontline near Donetsk. He was speaking to soldiers, his message: No panic, Everything is under control. Lets hope so!”

Conclusion 

The viral images claiming to show that President Zelensky has joined the Ukrainian military in fighting against the Russian invasion are old and unrelated to the current scenario.

Result: False Context/False 

Sources

Reuters

duvaR.English

i24News

RT

The Conversation

112UA

Bild

Twitter Account Of Paul Ronzheimer


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Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha Beri
Vasudha noticed the growing problem of mis/disinformation online after studying New Media at ACJ in Chennai and became interested in separating facts from fiction. She is interested in learning how global issues affect individuals on a micro level. Before joining Newschecker’s English team, she was working with Latestly.

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