FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Ukrainian Soldier With Nazi Tattoos?
An image shared on Instagram claims to show a detained Ukrainian soldier with Nazi tattoos on his body.
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The image was first circulated in 2015. Ukrainian outlets reported that it was a Russian national fighting for Ukrainian separatists that was captured by Ukrainian volunteers.
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s State Duma and close ally to Russian President Vladimir Putin, called for the arrest of “Nazi” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to The Jerusalem Post. Pope Francis compared the war in Ukraine to a “Nazi operation” in the first two years of World War Two, CNBC reported.
The Facebook image, which shows a man with a swastika tattoo, claims to show a Ukrainian soldier captured by Russian forces. The image caption reads, “And just like that liberals don’t want to punch Nazis anymore. Ukrainian soldiers keep getting captured with these tattoos.”
The claim, though, lacks evidence and the image is old. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the image was published in 2015. At least two Ukrainian news outlets, podrobnosti.ua and TCH, reported that the man in the images was a Russian national captured by Ukrainian soldiers.
The man in the image is allegedly Roman Tolstokorov, a Russian national that was hired by the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR). A Ukraine Today video published in 2015 shows a member of the Right Sector, a right-wing Ukrainian political group, with a red military document allegedly showing Tolstokorov as a mercenary hired by the DPR. (RELATED: No, This Photo Of Volodymyr Zelenskyy Holding A Jersey With A Swastika On It Isn’t Real)
Fact-checking website Lead Stories reported that Ukraine does not use red covers for its documents. Tolstokorov allegedly crossed into Ukrainian territory after he was beaten up for his swastika tattoo, the outlet reported. Swastika tattoos are likely prison tattoos that point to rebellion against prison and prison officials, according to Petrovka 38.
Misinformation around Ukraine and Nazis is not new. Check Your Fact debunked a claim in March that the deputy commander of the Kyiv police is a Neo-Nazi.