Fact Check: Image Is NOT A Before/After Of Kyiv's Independence Square Since Russian Invasion

Fact Check

  • by: Jennifer Dobner
Fact Check: Image Is NOT A Before/After Of Kyiv's Independence Square Since Russian Invasion Older Photos

Does a split image of Independence Square in Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv accurately compare the condition of the area before and after Russia invaded the country on February 24, 2022, and tried to seize the city? No, that's not true: The bottom photograph showing damage is from 2014.

The split image has circulated on social media sites, including in a post (archived here) on the Facebook page of the group Africa's Wakanda on February 25, 2022. The caption said:

What war can do.

War is real ...not movies.. real bullets..real deaths! Civilians will aways suffer for political ideologies!

This is the capital and most populous city of Ukraine, Kiev few days ago and Kiev today

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

Screen Shot 2022-02-28 at 6.05.53 PM.png

(Image source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Feb 28 19:11:57 2022 UTC)

The origin of the top image in the Facebook post could not be determined by Lead Stories after searching on websites that source original photographs.

A reverse image search did find, however, that the lower photograph was taken on February 19, 2014, during violent anti-government protests by Reuters photographer Olga Yakimovich. It depicts Independence Square, also known as Maidan Square, following a February 18, 2014, clash between anti-government protestors and Ukraine security forces.

The Reuters photograph was widely published by other news organizations in 2014, including the BBC on February 20, 2014, Business Insider on February 19, 2014, and an Australia-based ABC News site, also on February 20, 2014.

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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  Jennifer Dobner

Jennifer Dobner is a Salt Lake City-based journalist with more than two decades of reporting experience. Jennifer has worked as a staffer for The Associated Press, The Salt Lake Tribune, San Diego Union-Tribune and Idaho Falls Post-Register. As a freelancer her work has been published by The New York Times, Outside Magazine Online, Reuters, Cannabis Wire and others. Jennifer’s documentary film work includes the international award-winning 2018 film Church & State and 2021’s award-winning Anchor Point.

Read more about or contact Jennifer Dobner

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