FACT CHECK: Did Volodymyr Zelenskyy Wear A Shirt Featuring A Nazi Hate Symbol?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wearing a shirt with a Nazi symbol on it.

Verdict: False

The symbol on Zelenskyy’s shirt is the emblem of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, not a Nazi symbol. A spokesperson for the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) confirmed the symbol is not a hate symbol.

Fact Check:

A picture shared on Facebook appears to show Zelenskyy giving a virtual address in which he is wearing a green shirt with a cross symbol on it. “Libs are out here like ‘Ukraine govt isn’t Nazis, their president is Jewish!’ as if we didn’t already have the Israeli govt as proof that some Jews also be Nazis….” reads the post’s caption. “Ukrainian Jewish president Volodymyr Zelensky wearing the German iron cross, A NAZI SYMBOL.”

The Iron Cross was originally a German military medal dating back to the 19th century, according to the ADL. When the Nazis came to power in the 1930s, they co-opted the symbol by placing a swastika in the middle of the cross and today it is considered a hate symbol that is often utilized by neo-Nazis and white supremacists, the ADL reports.

The screengrab included in the Facebook post was captured during a Mar. 4 virtual address, in which Zelenskyy, who is Jewish, criticized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) decision not to close the airspace over Ukraine. The cross on his shirt is not, however, an Iron Cross, as the Facebook post claims. Upon closer inspection, it is clear the symbol on his shirt is the cross-shaped emblem of the Ukrainian military, as seen here on the Ukrainian government’s website.

“I checked with our hate symbols expert and they confirmed that that’s the Ukrainian coat of arms symbol,” said Jake Hyman, an ADL spokesperson, in an email to Check Your Fact. “Not a hate symbol or iron cross.” (RELATED: No, This Photo Of Volodymyr Zelenskyy Holding A Jersey With A Swastika On It Isn’t Real) 

This is not the first time social media users have tried to link Zelenskyy to a Nazi symbol. Check Your Fact previously debunked a digitally edited photo of him holding a soccer jersey with a swastika on the back.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter