FACT CHECK: Did Drones In Kyiv Spell Out The Message ‘Russian Warship, Go F*** Yourself’?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows dozens of drones arranged to spell out the message “Russian war ship? go f*ck yourself” in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Verdict: False

The image is digitally fabricated. The original image is from 2012 and does not feature any drones or messages spelled out in the sky.

Fact Check: 

Russian forces are attempting to advance on Kyiv with a 40-mile long convoy that includes tanks, artillery and supplies, according to Business Insider. The convoy has since stalled 19 miles outside of the city, CNN reported.

As the war enters its second week, some social media users have been sharing an image that appears to show dozens of drones assembled in formation to spell out a message in Cyrillic in the night sky. “While Kyiv prepares for another night, the drones over Dnipro river make the signs for the Russian troops ‘Russian war ship? Go f*ck yourself,'” reads text included in one such post.

The reference to the phrase is from an alleged exchange between 13 Ukrainian border guards on Ukraine’s Snake Island and the Russian Navy, according to CNN. A Russian warship ordered the guards to surrender, to which a Ukrainian guard responded by saying, “Russian warship, go f*** yourself,” the outlet reported. (RELATED: Did CNN Air This Chyron About Putin Waiting To Invade Ukraine Until Biden Sends Weapons ‘For Russia To Capture’?)

The Facebook image is digitally altered. The original image appears to have been taken by Dmitry Korol and posted on Flickr in April 2012. Korol’s image shows Kyiv’s Motherland Monument illuminated against a night sky. Notably, there are no drones or messages visible in the photo.

Parker Molloy, a former editor at large for Media Matters, shared a video on Twitter demonstrating how someone could easily overlay the original image with the image of the purported drones.

Check Your Fact found no credible news reports to corroborate the authenticity of the image shared on Facebook. There are no credible news reports about drones assembling in such a formation over Kyiv.

Several images and videos have been misattributed to the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. Check Your Fact recently corrected an image that allegedly showed destruction in Kyiv as of Feb. 25.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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