FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Russian Jet That Was Shot Down Over Ukraine?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook allegedly shows a Russian fighter jet that was shot down over Ukraine.

Verdict: False

The image shows a jet being shot down in Syria years before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The image has nothing to do with the ongoing conflict in the country.

Fact Check: 

Ukrainian officials claim their military has downed more than 200 Russian aircraft since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country, according to Interfax. The officials also estimate Russia has lost at least 25,000 soldiers in the conflict, the outlet reported.

An image shared on Facebook claims to show one of these doomed Russian planes. It shows a fighter jet engulfed in flames seemingly plummeting to the ground. “Rare Russian MiG-31BM fighter jet shot down in Ukraine destroyed along with crew – media,” reads the image’s caption. (RELATED: Does This Video Show A Russian Fighter Jet Being Shot Down In Ukraine?)

The image predates the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A reverse image search revealed the photo has circulated on the internet since at least 2015. The same image was featured in a March 2016 news article from the Russian-language news outlet bzns.media. The article’s title translates to “Rebels shoot down Syrian warplane in Aleppo.”

A mirrored version of the image could be traced back to a July 2016 article from Turkish-based news outlet Artsakh Press that reported on the November 2015 downing of a Russian SU-24 jet in Syria. The image also appeared in a November 2015 Observer article regarding the same incident, though neither article credits the image to a specific source or specifically identifies the plane.

This is not the first time an image of a burning fighter jet has been misattributed to the conflict in Ukraine. Check Your Fact recently debunked an image that purportedly showed a Russian fighter jet that was shot down over Ukraine but actually showed a Russian jet that was struck by another aircraft during a 1993 airshow in England.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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