FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Members Of Kyiv’s Dynamo Soccer Team In Military Attire?
An image shared on Facebook over 150 times purportedly shows members of a Ukrainian soccer team armed with weapons and dressed in military attire.
The photo shows the Ukrainian right-wing nationalist group Gonor, not a soccer team.
Russia currently maintains a military of 900,000 troops, over four times the size of Ukraine’s 196,000-person military, according to a report from the European Parliament. Ukrainian army reservists have been called up to defend the city of Kyiv should the Russian army attempt to storm the city amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, The Guardian reported.
The Facebook image, which has garnered over 370 reactions, appears to show a group of men armed with weapons and in military uniform. “Our Ukrainian football team FC Dynamo Kyiv now!!!” the image’s caption claims. “Our men are the strongest and the bravest.” FC Dynamo Kyiv is a professional soccer team based in Kyiv.
The picture does not show the professional Kyiv soccer team. A reverse image search revealed the photo first appeared on the Instagram page of “gonor.group.” The Feb. 24 post’s Ukrainian caption roughly translates to, “Good night everyone. Death to the invaders! Glory to the Nation!!!” Serhii Sternenko, a member of Gonor, also shared the photo to his Instagram stating, “Ready. We are waiting for further orders. May this night be good for Ukraine and eternal for the Russian invaders!”
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Gonor, described by BBC News as a “right-wing nationalist group,” was part of a Russian resistance march staged in Kyiv Feb. 12, according to the outlet. “Anyone who acknowledges that the main threats today are Russian aggression and internal corruption are our potential allies,” the group’s translated YouTube page reads in part. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Volodymyr Zelenskyy And His Wife Singing ‘Endless Love’ By Lionel Richie?)
Foreign players and staff associated with Dynamo Kyiv, also called Football Club (FC) Dynamo Kyiv, have evacuated the country, according to CBS Sports. The club has pledged to begin fundraising for local hospitals and orphanages, per an announcement on the team’s English Twitter page March 7.
Bogdan Ilyuk, social media manager for Dynamo Kyiv, confirmed to Reuters in an emailed statement the picture does not show any Dynamo Kyiv football players.