Fact Check: Image Of Two Men With Rifle Cutouts Is NOT 'Staged' For 'Propaganda'

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Image Of Two Men With Rifle Cutouts Is NOT 'Staged' For 'Propaganda' Just Training

Is an image of two men bearing rifle cutouts in Ukraine an example of a "staged" photo used for "propaganda purposes" during the conflict between Russia and Ukraine? No, that's not true: The image was taken during a civilian training exercise, which explains why the men are not carrying real weapons.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on February 27, 2022. The post included a picture of a Fox News report that used the image of the two men. The caption of the post reads:

Don't worry there are no staged photos for propaganda purposes happening in or around the Russia Ukraine invasion. #bots #spam #cyberattacks

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on February 28, 2022:

Screen Shot 2022-02-28 at 6.08.57 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Feb 28 21:28 2022 UTC)

Lead Stories located the image on Alamy, a stock photography website. The image was taken on February 19, 2022, and provided by Ukrinform, a Ukrainian news agency. The full caption of the image stated:

KHARKIV, UKRAINE - FEBRUARY 19, 2022 - Two men with rifle cutouts take cover behind a corner during the territorial defence drill for civilians given by Azov Regiment veterans under the slogan 'Don't Panic! Get Ready!', Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.

Lead Stories also found the Fox News report that used the image. The report featured Kira Rudik, a Ukrainian member of parliament. The image appeared at the 6:43 mark of the report.

More Lead Stories fact checks related to the Russia-Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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