Fact Check: Images Do NOT Show U.S. Soldiers Parting With Families Before Heading To Ukraine

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Images Do NOT Show U.S. Soldiers Parting With Families Before Heading To Ukraine Older Images

Are various images of U.S. soldiers embracing their families actually pictures of those soldiers headed to Ukraine during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict? No, that's not true: These images, some of which are years old, are misattributed because, at the time of writing, U.S. troops have not been sent to Ukraine.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on February 26, 2022. The post includes several pictures of U.S. soldiers who seem to be either leaving or reuniting with their families. The caption of the post is:

US Soldiers saying their last Goodbyes to their Love Ones before heading to Ukraine for Battles.😭🥺🤧

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on March 1, 2022:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Tue Mar 1 20:19 2022 UTC)

Some of the images used in the post can be traced back to several years before the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. The first image in the set, from 2007, shows a soldier hugging her daughter and weeping. The soldier in the image -- who was briefly returning from Iraq -- wrote a reflection piece on the image's impact for The Guardian in 2014.

Another image in the set was taken in 2008 of another soldier returning from Iraq and being embraced by his daughter. Another in the set was taken in 2012 of a soldier in Afghanistan embracing his wife and young daughter.

The Biden administration has clarified that it does not plan to send U.S. troops to fight Russia in Ukraine. On February 26, 2022, the White House released a joint statement with leaders of various European countries and the European Commission about further economic restrictions against Russia for its actions in Ukraine. This statement followed previous announcements of economic sanctions against Russia. However, the statement did not mention the deployment of U.S. soldiers to Ukraine.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine 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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