FACT CHECK: Do These Photos Show A Ukrainian Jet That Hit A Road Sign During A Low-Flying Mission Against The Russians?

Hannah Hudnall | Fact Check Reporter

A pair of images shared on Facebook allegedly show a Ukrainian fighter jet with a road sign stuck to it landing on a highway after a low-flying combat mission against the Russians.

Verdict: Misleading

While the images do show a Ukrainian fighter jet, they were taken during a training exercise in 2020. They are unrelated to the current conflict in Ukraine.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post includes two images, both showing a blue Sukhoi Su-27 fighter jet with what appears to be a road sign crumpled around the base of the aircraft. “Ukrainian aircraft returning from mission,” the post’s caption claims. “They have to fly very low to avoid Russian radar and missiles. A road sign got in the way.”

While the photos of the jet are authentic, they predate the recent Russian invasion. An internet search revealed the incident was the subject of an August 2020 Business Insider piece that explained the Ukrainian jet had collided with the road sign during a training exercise on a Ukrainian highway. The jet pictured was practicing “dispersed landing” when it hit the road sign, according to the outlet. The incident was also the subject of an August 2020 post on Defense Blog, a military news outlet. Neither source says anything about the pilot attempting to “avoid Russian radar and missiles.”

Video of the jet striking the sign while landing was shared to YouTube by Ukrainian news outlet TCH in August 2020 with a Ukrainian-language title that translates to, “A Ukrainian fighter demolished a road sign on the Kyiv-Chop international highway.” (RELATED: No, This Image Does Not Show A Russian Fighter Jet That Was Shot Down In Ukraine)

The Ukrainian air force continues to battle the larger Russian air force over Ukraine, according to The New York Times. The air space above Ukraine is still contested, the outlet reported.

Hannah Hudnall

Fact Check Reporter

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