Fact Check: This Photo Does NOT Show Ukraine's President On Russian Invasion Front Line In 2022 -- Other Footage Does

Fact Check

  • by: Dean Miller

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: This Photo Does NOT Show Ukraine's President On Russian Invasion Front Line In 2022 -- Other Footage Does 2021 Photo

Does this photo show President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine visiting battle lines during the Russian invasion that started February 24, 2022? No, that's not true: Multiple reverse image searches show the photo was taken in 2021, almost a full year before Russia attacked. Please note that according to current reports (confirmed by video footage) Zelenskyy is present in Kyiv, which is on the current front line.

The picture and claim appeared in a February 25, 2022, Facebook post (archived here) on the amazingfacts page under the title "Ukraine's president on the front line due to the tension of Ukraine and Russia!" It opened:

Salute to the President of Ukraine PEACE

This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:

Facebook screenshotAmazing Facts.JPG

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Feb 25 23:50:37 2022 UTC)

The post implies the photo was taken at the time of Russia's February 24, 2022, invasion of Russia.

Lead Stories conducted reverse image searches for the image, finding that it was taken about a year before the invasion during visits Zelenskyy made to troops in the field to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the creation of the Ukraine Armed Forces. The following montage shows the first record of publication was December 6, 2021 on Seattlepi.com and a variety of news sites devoted to news of the Baltic States and eastern Europe.

Zelensky.Front.Line.Picture.History.jpg

(Source: Screenshots taken February 25, 2021 by Lead Stories from tineye.com and from eastern European news sites showing publication dates in December of 2021)

Note that in the night of February 25-26 Zelenskyy released video showing him and key members of his government in front of buildings in Kyiv confirming they were there to resist Russian attempts to take the city.

Updates:

  • 2022-02-26T08:55:47Z 2022-02-26T08:55:47Z
    Added footage of Zelenskyy being on the front line in Kyiv

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  Dean Miller

Lead Stories Managing Editor Dean Miller has edited daily and weekly newspapers, worked as a reporter for more than a decade and is co-author of two non-fiction books. After a Harvard Nieman Fellowship, he served as Director of Stony Brook University's Center for News Literacy for six years, then as Senior Vice President/Content at Connecticut Public Broadcasting. Most recently, he wrote the twice-weekly "Save the Free Press" column for The Seattle Times. 

Read more about or contact Dean Miller

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