FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A NATO General Being Detained By Russian Forces In Ukraine?
A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows Russian state security service agents detaining Lt. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier, a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) commander.
There is no evidence to suggest Cloutier has been captured by Russian forces. A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) denied the claim. The video shows a militant who was arrested in Crimea in March, according to the Russian news outlet RIA.
Russian forces claim to have successfully captured the Ukrainian city of Mariupol following a three-month-long siege, according to the Associated Press. A post shared on Facebook claims the Russians found Cloutier, a NATO general in charge of Allied Land Command, among those attempting to flee the city.
“General Roger L. Cloutier, was formerly a head of US Africa Command, now a NATO army commander was captured under the guise of a refugee trying to escape Mariupol,” reads the post’s caption. “In this video, he is been seen escorted by an FSB agent.”
The video featured in the post shows a man with his face blurred out being escorted from a van into a building by two Russian soldiers. (RELATED: Was David Axelrod Arrested By The Military?)
These claims are incorrect. An internet search reveals the video included in the post was shared by the Russian news outlet RIA in March with a caption that indicated the man detained was a member of an anti-Russian militant group based in Crimea. The article alleges the man was arrested for being a part of this illegal group. It makes no mention of Cloutier.
There is likewise no evidence that Cloutier has been captured in Ukraine. NATO has not issued a press release about such a development. There are no credible news reports suggesting a NATO general has been arrested in Ukraine. The verified NATO Allied Land Command Facebook page posted a May 23 picture of Cloutier standing with a Turkish ambassador at the command’s headquarters in Izmir, Turkey.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Defense confirmed the claim was false in an email to Check Your Fact.
This is not the first time NATO has been the subject of misinformation surrounding its involvement in Ukraine. Check Your Fact recently debunked a claim suggesting NATO forces attacked Russian soldiers heading towards the border.