FACT CHECK: Did Vladimir Putin Make These Disparaging Remarks About Western Leaders?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims to show Russian President Vladimir Putin making disparaging remarks about Western leaders.

Verdict: False

The video’s subtitles are incorrect. Putin does not mention any specific Western leader in the clip.

Fact Check:

Putin announced that Russian forces would be conducting a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24, according to The New York Times. Since then, more than 1,400 civilians have been killed as a result of the war between the two countries, the U.N. reports.

The Facebook video appears to show Putin making disparaging remarks about Western leaders. It shows Putin speaking Russian while English subtitles offer an alleged translation. According to the alleged translation, Putin calls President Joe Biden “crazy” and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson “unbalanced.” He also allegedly makes remarks about New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“Putin Lets it Rip… *Read Every Word*!” reads part of the video’s caption. (RELATED: Did Vladimir Putin Declare War On Kenya?)

The video’s English subtitles are incorrect. A reverse image search found the clip of Putin speaking is from a March 16 meeting he had with Russian economic leaders. During the meeting, he spoke about the effects of Western sanctions on the Russian economy, anti-war protests in Russia and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Reuters.

Other media outlets, such as The New York Times and Al-Jazeera, reported that Putin called Russian anti-war protesters “scum and traitors” during the meeting and called for a “self-purification” of the country. However, none of the outlets that reported on the meeting mention Putin calling out specific Western leaders such as Johnson or Biden. A translation of the meeting released by the Kremlin likewise makes no mention of specific Western leaders.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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