FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show A Russian Su-34 Shot Down Over Kyiv?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Russian Su-34 airplane that was shot down by the Ukrainian military over the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv.

Verdict: False

The photo shows a U.S. B-17 bomber that was forced to conduct an emergency landing in Papua New Guinea in 1944 during World War II.

Fact Check:

Russia’s death toll from the Ukrainian invasion is estimated to be around 2,000 as of March, but possibly higher, The New York Times reports. Ukrainian forces claimed to have killed more than 12,000 Russian soldiers and downed 48 Russian airplanes and 80 helicopters since the start of the offensive, the outlet reported.

A black and white image shared on Facebook, which has garnered over 3,300 likes, appears to show a crashed military plane in a wooded area. “Su-34 shot down by Ukrainian Fighter Ace over Kiev,” the post’s caption claims, adding that Russian President Vladimir Putin was “sCaReD.”

The Su-34 is a fourth-generation Russian air force fighter-bomber, first introduced in the 1980s, according to Military Factory. (RELATED: No, This Image Does Not Show A Russian Fighter Jet That Was Shot Down In Ukraine)

A reverse image search revealed the picture predates the Russian invasion of Ukraine by several decades. The photo, taken on May 4, 1944, actually shows a downed U.S. B-17 bomber nicknamed, “Harry the Horse,” according to Pacific Wrecks.

The plane was forced to conduct an emergency landing at Tadji Airfield in Papua New Guinea May 4, 1944, due to low fuel levels, but part of the landing gear collapsed during the landing, causing the plane to skid off the runway and crash near a bomb dump, the outlet reported. The aircraft was recovered and no one was injured, but the plane was damaged “beyond repair.”

Similar images of the Boeing B-17 bomber can be seen on the New Orleans’ National WWII Museum’s website. Genuine pictures of the Russian Su-34 fighter jet, which is notably different from the B-17, can be found on Getty Images.

This is not the first time an image of an aircraft has been falsely linked to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. Check Your Fact previously debunked an alleged photo of a Russian jet shot down by Ukrainian troops.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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