Fact Check: Neither Zelenskyy NOR Putin Threatened To Send Troops To Ghana's Border In Response To 'Jokes' About Russia-Ukraine War

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard
Fact Check: Neither Zelenskyy NOR Putin Threatened To Send Troops To Ghana's Border In Response To 'Jokes' About Russia-Ukraine War No Ghana Talk

Did the Ukrainian president threaten to send troops to Ghana's border for alleged "jokes" about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war? No, that's not true: Not only does Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy not appear in the video used to purportedly justify the claim, but the video actually shows Russian President Vladimir Putin. In the video, Putin talks about retaliating for any perceived threats toward Russia for its actions in Ukraine, and he does not mention Ghana.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post on February 27, 2022. The post includes a video titled "Ukrainian President made this profound Statement" and showed Putin -- not Zelenskyy -- making an announcement. The captions included in the video read:

I have made up my mind to battle any country, that decides to go against my decisions

Right now I have seen some pictures flying on the internet where presidents of some West African countries are on Twitter saying funny Things about this war, especially GHANA. I have no issues with Akuffo Addo, but if he jokes, I will send troops, and ammunition to be placed on their border with Togo.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on March 3, 2022:

ukrainian president putin ghana FB post.png

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Thu Mar 3 20:02:30 2022 UTC)

The video uses two clips from Putin's address broadcast in Russia on February 24, 2022. Zelenskyy does not appear in the video. He even thanked Ghana and other countries via Twitter for backing Ukraine during a United Nations Security Council meeting on February 25, 2022.

Although the captions included in the Facebook video lead the viewer to believe that Putin is discussing sending troops to Ghana, Facebook's auto-generated English captions -- which can be accessed by clicking the closed captions ("CC") button at the bottom right-hand section of the video and clicking "English" -- read:

I have decided to conduct a special military operation.

Whoever would try to hinder us, let alone create threats to our country, for our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate. It will lead you to such consequences that you have never before in your history.

Yahoo Finance posted a video on its YouTube channel on February 24, 2022, of excerpts of Putin's broadcast. Both of the clips used in the Facebook video were also included in the Yahoo Finance video. Lead Stories used the Yahoo Finance video clips to compare their English subtitles to Facebook's auto-generated English captions of the same clips. From the 0:31 to the 0:36 mark of the Yahoo Finance video, the English subtitles of Putin's address read:

I have decided to conduct a special military operation.

From the 1:02 to the 1:19 mark of the Yahoo Finance video, the English subtitles of Putin's address read:

Whoever would try to stop us and create further threats to our country, to our people, should know that Russia's response will be immediate and lead you to consequences that you have never faced in your history.

The consistency of the translated subtitles from Facebook and Yahoo Finance show that Putin was not discussing sending troops to Ghana in his address. News coverage of the address from other outlets such as Al Jazeera and the New York Times do not mention Ghana, either.

Lead Stories has previously debunked a claim that Putin targeted Africa -- specifically Kenya -- for talking about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. We also debunked a claim that Putin said during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict that a part of Pakistan should belong to India.

More Lead Stories fact checks about the Russian invasion of 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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