FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show The First Lady Of Ukraine In Military Attire?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows Olena Zelenska, the first lady of Ukraine, in military attire.

Verdict: False

The photo, taken in August 2021, is a stock photo of an unidentified female Ukrainian soldier. The image does not show the first lady of Ukraine.

Fact Check:

After Russia launched a multi-front attack on Ukraine Feb. 24, the two countries held talks near the Belarusian border with Ukraine seeking an immediate ceasefire, according to NBC News. The talks ended with the hope that conversations could continue “in the near future,” the Associated Press reported.

An image shared on Facebook, which garnered over 280 reactions, appears to show a woman wearing a military uniform while smiling at the camera. “God bless you. The first lady of Ukraine in her military dress,” the post’s caption claims, identifying the woman in the picture as Ukraine’s first lady, Olena Zelenska.

The woman in the image is not Zelenska. A reverse image search revealed the photo can be found on the stock image websites Alamy and iStock, which both date the photo to Aug. 22, 2021. The woman in the picture is identified simply as a “Ukrainian female soldier” on Alamy while iStock describes her as a “Ukrainian smiling female soldier in military uniform.” The photo was taken in Kyiv during a rehearsal of a military parade to celebrate the country’s independence day, according to iStock.

The female soldier does not physically resemble Zelenska. The soldier appears to have brown hair and eyes while Zelenska appears to have blonde hair and light-colored eyes, as can be seen in photos of her on Getty Images(RELATED: Viral Image That Purportedly Shows Ilhan Omar With Gun Was Actually Taken Before She Was Born)

Zelenska’s official Instagram and Facebook pages do not feature the photo. One Facebook post seemingly confirms the first lady is remaining in Kyiv despite the invasion. “I will be calm and confident,” reads a translation of part of the post. “My children are looking at me. I will be next to them. And next to my husband. And with you.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has vowed to remain in Kyiv amid the conflict, stating, “We are in Kyiv. We are protecting Ukraine,” according to The New York Times.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter