FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Retired US Navy Admiral Being Captured In Mariupol?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows a retired U.S. admiral being held as a prisoner in Mariupol, Ukraine.

Verdict: False

There is no evidence to suggest an American admiral has been captured in Ukraine. The image, taken in April, shows prisoners of war attending an event in a different part of the country.

Fact Check: 

Russian authorities claim 1,700 Ukrainian defenders of the Azovstal steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol have surrendered to Russian forces, the Associated Press reports. A Facebook post claims that retired U.S. Admiral Eric Olson is among those taken as prisoners.

The post includes an image that shows several camouflaged men being escorted by a soldier wearing a Z patch. “US Admiral Eric Olson (Highly decorated special ops commander born in #Tacoma , Wa retired in 2011) & British Lieutenant Colonel John Bailey and four NATO military instructors captured by Russian military at #Azovstal #Ukraine,” reads the post’s caption.

There is no evidence Olson has been captured in Ukraine. A reverse image search revealed the image included in the post can be found on Sputnik Images, a Russian photo archive website, with a caption that explains it shows Ukrainian prisoners of war who were photographed in April in Luhansk, Ukraine. The caption makes no mention of Olson or Mariupol.

“Ukrainian prisoners of war attend an event in memory of those killed in Luhansk People’s Republic as a result of shelling in 2014, in Luhansk, LPR,” reads the post. Luhansk is over 280 kilometers away from Mariupol, according to Google Maps. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Ukrainian Forces Destroying Eight Russian Tanks?)

There are no credible news reports suggesting any foreign generals have been captured in Ukraine. A Department of Defense spokesperson told Check Your Fact in an email the Facebook claim was false.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
Follow Elias on Twitter Have a fact check suggestion? Send ideas to [email protected].