FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Russian Helicopters Over A Ukrainian Town?
An image shared on Facebook claims to show Russian helicopters flying and firing on military positions over a Ukrainian town.
The helicopters are Ukrainian, not Russian, according to the original photographer.
Russian forces have advanced on Bakhmut, capturing the eastern district of the city after Ukrainian forces withdrew, according to The Wall Street Journal. Both sides have suffered heavy casualties in the battle, and Russia surrounds the city from three sides, the outlet reported.
The Facebook image, which shows helicopters firing rockets, claims the helicopters are Russian. The claim was also spread on Twitter.
Town of Chasov Yar, Russian helicopters working on AFU positions. pic.twitter.com/WzMlSHmXvA
— Trollstoy (@Trollstoy88) March 6, 2023
This claim, however, is false. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the image was originally posted on Instagram by French photographer Antoni Lallican. The image’s caption reads, “Ukrainian helicopters lead attack on Russian positions in the vicinity of Chassiv yar. February 25, 2023.”
Lallican confirmed to Check Your Fact in an email that he took the image and that the helicopters are Ukrainian.
The image was geolocated by open source intelligence account @Chris__759, showing that those rockets were being fired at Russian positions southwest of Bakhmut.
Picture shows #Ukrainian helicopters fired (south of Chasiv Yar) rockets at #Russian positions south-west of Bakhmut.
POV📌48.574176, 37.779473#Geolocation @GeoConfirmed @PeImeniPusha @200_zoka @GeromanAT @RWApodcast @RALee85 @Osinttechnical https://t.co/OTLaE8Uwm7 pic.twitter.com/qS2odXk7eU
— chris__759 (@chris__759) March 7, 2023
“Picture shows #Ukrainian helicopters fired (south of Chasiv Yar) rockets at #Russian positions south-west of Bakhmut,” the account tweeted.
The claim was also debunked by GeoConfirmed, and the original image was also found by Belgian journalist Sammy Soetaert. (RELATED: Does This Image Show A Captured Leopard 2 Tank In Ukraine?)
Misinformation around the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is not new. Check Your Fact recently debunked an image claiming to show a captured Ukrainian Leopard 2 tank.