FACT CHECK: Viral Post Claims Woman Who Accompanied Zelenskyy During Hospital Visit Died Weeks Earlier

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims a woman who accompanied Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a March visit to a military hospital died weeks earlier, proving the footage of the hospital visit was pre-recorded.

Verdict: False

The woman pictured next to Zelenskyy is not the woman who died weeks earlier. There is no evidence the woman pictured in the post accompanying Zelenskyy has died.

Fact Check: 

Zelenskyy visited wounded Ukrainian soldiers at an undisclosed military hospital March 13, according to The Wall Street Journal. During the visit, he awarded medals to wounded soldiers for their service, The Hill reported.

A Facebook post claims the video of the visit is pre-recorded, adding that the woman seen next to Zelenskyy had died Feb. 26, weeks before his alleged visit. (RELATED: Does This Photo Show The Statue Of Liberty In New York Draped In The Colors Of The Ukrainian Flag?)

“Zelensky published a video in which he allegedly visited a hospital with wounded soldiers of the Armed Forces of Ukraine today,” reads the post, in part. “But on the footage, a physician, Inna Derusova, was seen, who died on February 26. The death of the woman was confirmed by her relatives.”

The woman pictured next to Zelenskyy is not Derusova, who did indeed die Feb. 26 after being hit with Russian artillery fire and was awarded the Hero of Ukraine posthumously, according to Ukrainian media outlets. Rather, the woman accompanying Zelenskyy in his hospital visit is Tetiana Ostashchenko, the Commander of the Medical Forces of Ukraine. Images of Ostashchenko can be found on several Ukrainian websites. She was also featured in a 2016 post on the U.S. Army Reserve’s website.

The fact-checking website Matilda.es ran Derusova’s image and Ostashchenko’s image through Microsoft’s facial recognition software Microsoft Azure, which confirmed the two were different people. Check Your Fact duplicated these results.

This is not the first time Zelenskyy has been the target of false claims. Check Your Fact recently debunked an image that allegedly showed the Ukrainian president holding a soccer jersey with a swastika on the back.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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