FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Ukrainian Soldier?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Ukrainian soldier being called on to fight the Russians.

Verdict: False

The photo was taken in 2019 and shows a U.K. paratrooper, not a Ukrainian soldier.

Fact Check:

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, thousands of Ukrainian civilians have enlisted in the country’s armed forces, which already maintains 170,000 soldiers in active duty and an additional 100,000 reservists, according to The New York Times.

An image shared on Facebook claims to show a headshot of one of these Ukrainian soldiers. The man pictured is wearing a red beret and has tears forming in his eyes. Superimposed text on the image reads, “This pic of a Ukrainian soldier breaks my heart.”

“This Ukrainian young/man is being called to fight Russian other young/men,” reads the post’s caption. “Some give their all. God bless them.” (RELATED: Viral Image Claims To Show Ukraine’s First Female Fighter Pilot Who Died In Battle)

The photo predates the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. The image first appeared in a December 2019 article from U.K.-based news outlet The Sun titled “‘THIS IS FOR BOTH OF US’ Brother of slain Afghanistan war hero breaks down as he follows in his footsteps to become paratrooper.” The outlet identified the man as then-Private Fin Doherty, who had recently joined the British Army’s paratrooper regiment.

Doherty’s older brother, also a member of the paratrooper regiment, was killed on duty in Afghanistan in 2008, the outlet reported. Doherty was formally given his brother’s beret after completing a 19-week course at Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, according to the outlet.

The verified Twitter account of the U.K.’s Ministry of Defence tweeted a similar photo of Doherty in February 2020.

This is not the first time a scene supposedly related to the war in Ukraine has been miscaptioned. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video that allegedly showed Ukrainian soldiers embracing their wives before leaving for war.

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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