Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation against Ukraine, resulting in a full-fledged invasion. Amid the Russia-Ukraine crisis, several visuals are being shared on social media claiming to be from the conflict. In the same row, a set of photos of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is being shared, claiming that he has donned the military uniform to join the Ukraine defence troops in the frontline to defend his country.
The photos are shared with the same narrative and varied captions in Hindi and English, garnering him all the praise from the netizens for being a true leader and standing beside his citizens at the time of war.
A verified Facebook user shared one of the photos and captioned, "This is the President of Ukraine Zelensky. He took off his clothes and put on a military uniform to join the troops fighting to protect the Ukrainian homeland. He is a true leader."
Another Facebook user shared the photos and compared it to the recent security breach of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Punjab. He captioned the photos in Hindi, "यूक्रेन के राष्ट्रपति ने दिल जीत लिया..अपने देश, अपने लोगो पर मुसीबत आई तो सैनिको की बर्दी पहनकर खुद जंग के मैदान में उतर गया और बयान दिया है कि " दुश्मन हमारी पीठ नही, सीना देखेगा " और एक युगांडा का प्रधानमंत्री है, जिसको विरोधस्वरूप 4-5 किसानों ने काले झंडे दिखा दिए तो घण्टो बुलेट प्रूफ कार से न निकला और अपना काफिला बापिस करके, कह रहा था कि बडी मुश्किल से जान बचाकर भागा हूँ".
[English translation: The President of Ukraine has won hearts...when his country and his people are in trouble, he went to the battlefield wearing soldiers' uniforms and stated that "the enemy will not look at our back, but will look at our chest." And there is a Ugandan Prime Minister, to whom 4-5 farmers showed black flags in opposition, he did not leave a bulletproof car for hours and returned his convoy, saying that he ran away after saving his life".
A Twitter user shared the photos and captioned, "Ukraine's President is on the front lines fighting for his people. President Zelensky has taken up arms and joined the troops to repel Russian invasion."
The photos are widespread on Twitter and Facebook.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy joined Ukraine defence troops to defend his country.
The Logical Indian fact check team verified the photos and found the claim false. The viral pictures are several months old, captured in 2021, and show the Ukrainian president meeting with service members in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine.
We conducted a Google reverse image search of the viral photos and found them published on different platforms in 2021.
We conducted a Google reverse image search of the photo, which led us to an article by Reuters published on December 10, 2021. The article was titled "Biden assures Zelenskiy that NATO membership in Ukraine's hands, Kyiv says," and used the same image as its thumbnail.
We carried the same process for this picture, leading us to yet another article by Reuters published on December 9, 2021. The article was titled, "Did NATO make a mistake in Ukraine?"
The photo was used as the thumbnail and was captioned, "Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy meets with the country's service members at the combat positions near the line of separation from Russian-backed rebels on the Day of the Armed Forces in the Donetsk region, Ukraine, on Monday. (Handout/Reuters)".
We followed the same steps for this picture, leading us to another Reuters article published on April 21, 2021. The article was titled, "Ukraine's Zelenskiy to Putin: Meet me for peace talks in conflict zone".
The photo was captioned, "Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass region, Ukraine April 9, 2021. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS".
We did a Google reverse image search of this photo which led us to an article by Kyiv Post published on April 8, 2021. The article was titled, "Zelensky arrives in Donbas, intends to meet with military on front line".
The photo was credited to Agence France-Presse (AFP) and was captioned, "This handout picture taken and released by the Ukrainian presidential press service on February 11, 2021, shows President Volodymyr Zelensky visiting the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donetsk region, Ukraine."
The same picture was also found at Getty Images, with the creation date of February 11, 2021. It was captioned, "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky inspects during his visit along with G7 ambassadors in Donbass, Ukraine on February 11, 2021. (Photo by Ukrainian Presidency / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)".
To sum up, old photos of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wearing a bulletproof vest, not the military uniform, are shared with false claims that he has joined the Ukraine defence troops in the frontline to defend his country. These pictures were taken when Zelenskyy visited the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine and met with service members in 2021.
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