FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show Ukrainian Police Declining To Enforce COVID-19 Lockdowns And Mandates?
A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows law enforcement officers in Ukraine setting down riot shields and refusing to enforce COVID-19 restrictions.
The footage, taken in 2014, shows Ukrainian police officers laying down their shields after pro-Russian demonstrators raided their headquarters.
Ukraine’s government is currently imposing an “adaptive quarantine” policy, where a region’s COVID-19 plan is categorized depending on the severity of the COVID-19 situation at a local level, according to Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs. This policy is set to expire in April barring possible extensions, according to the U.K. government’s website.
The Facebook video shows law enforcement personnel in riot gear dropping their riot shields in a pile on the ground before walking away. The caption identifies the officers as “Police in Odessa, Ukraine” acting “in defiance to enforcing draconian lockdowns and mandates towards its people.” (RELATED: Do You Need A Phone To Show Proof Of Vaccination In Canada?)
While the clip does show an incident that took place in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, it predates the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated restrictions. Spanish-based newspaper El País included a slightly longer version of the footage in a May 4, 2014 report that explains the police visible in the video were preparing to engage with pro-Russia separatist protesters who had occupied a building in the port city.
The Associated Press included a photo showing the pile of dropped police shields in a May 4, 2014 article about the protest. The article noted that pro-Russia protesters had attacked a police building and freed prisoners being held there. Al-Jazeera reporter Jonah Hull reported from Odessa at the time of the incident that it appeared as if law enforcement had “actively decided to stand back and do nothing, in order to prevent” additional rioting.