FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show A Captured Leopard 2 Tank In Ukraine?
An image shared on Facebook claims to show a captured Leopard 2 tank in Ukraine partially submerged in water.
The image has been circulating since 2008. There is no evidence a Leopard 2 tank has been captured in Ukraine.
Poland delivered four Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine in late February, according to Reuters. Russia has intensified its offensive in the east, with some Russian officials claiming it is on the verge of encircling Bakhmut, a city that has been the scene of fierce fighting for months, The New York Times reported.
The Facebook image claims to show a captured Leopard 2A5 tank by Russian soldiers and a Russian flag planted on top of it. The claim was spread on Twitter, with Russian diplomat Dmitry Polyanskiy sharing a now-deleted tweet making the claim.
It’s a good start. More to follow – stay tuned! https://t.co/bazJh1ogSM
— Dmitry Polyanskiy (@Dpol_un) March 3, 2023
The claim is false. Through a reverse image search on Tineye, Check Your Fact found that the image has been circulating since 2008. For example, the image is available on an Imgur collection from 2016 and was published on this website in September 2016.
The original image shows that the Russian flag has been photoshopped in. For example, the image was also shared on Twitter in 2019 without the photoshopped Russian flag. (FACT CHECK: Did The UK Ministry Of Defense Send This Letter About Ukrainian Trainees?)
7/ Summary: its not exciting or glamorous but we need to ensure the focus in on mobility as much as (or more than?) firepower and protection. Harks back to my ramblings on protection recently. A vehicle’s mobility is an inherent part of its survivability on the battlefield. pic.twitter.com/Pi7B16ZgEn
— Jon Hawkes (@JonHawkes275) October 7, 2019
A pro-Russian official claimed to have seen Leopard 2 tanks in Bakhmut on Feb. 28, according to CNN. Wagner mercenary leader Yevgeny Prigozhin denied fighting any Leopards in an audio message posted to his Telegram channel, according to France 24. There is no evidence any Leopard 2 tank has seen action or been captured so far in Ukraine.
This is not the first time images of a tank have been falsely linked to the Ukrainian war. Check Your Fact recently debunked an image allegedly showing another Leopard 2 tank that was destroyed.