FACT CHECK: Is Kyrylo Budanov Dead?
A post shared on Twitter claims Ukrainian intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov was killed in May 2023.
🇷🇺💥🇺🇦‼️How the Russians located and liquidated Budanov and NATO agents in a special underground bunker‼️
The details of the destruction of the underground bunker of Kirill Budanov, the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence Services (GUR) of the Ministry of Defense 👇 pic.twitter.com/idgxDyf6V3
— Djole 🇷🇸 (@onlydjole) June 19, 2023
Budanov is alive and has given video interviews to media outlets.
Social media users have been sharing claims that Budanov, Ukraine’s top intelligence chief, had been killed by a Russian missile strike. This particular post claims that Budanov died in a Russian missile strike in May alongside agents of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
These claims are false. Budanov met with the Japanese ambassador to Ukraine June 20, with images showing him posing with the delegation, according to Ukrainska Pravda. He also told the Kyiv Post, in response to claims that he had died, that “Now in Ukraine, a special detachment of immortal commanders is being created – Valery Zaluzhny, myself, Stepan Bandera, Symon Petliura, Ivan Mazepa.”
He also appeared in multiple videos, including an interview with a Ukrainian outlet, according to Wall Street Journal chief foreign affairs correspondent Yaroslav Trofimov. (RELATED: Video Claims Ukraine Has Wiped Out Russian Army)
All the dead have arisen. Ukraine’s GUR intelligence chief Budanov, who like Ukraine’s top commander Zaluzhny, was declared dead or in coma by Russian propaganda and senior Russian officials, seems very much alive and well in today’s live TV interview. pic.twitter.com/4pbTFjg95L
— Yaroslav Trofimov (@yarotrof) June 20, 2023
BBC Verify reporter Shayan Sardarizadeh said on Twitter that the videos showing Budanov were not deepfakes.
Guy who checks and verifies online content for a living here. That’s not a deepfake.
It’s a genuine video of Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, who pro-Kremlin accounts falsely claim has been killed in a Russian strike, looking alive and well. pic.twitter.com/xQfHXcqMtD
— Shayan Sardarizadeh (@Shayan86) June 20, 2023
“Guy who checks and verifies online content for a living here. That’s not a deepfake. It’s a genuine video of Ukraine’s military intelligence chief Kyrylo Budanov, who pro-Kremlin accounts falsely claim has been killed in a Russian strike, looking alive and well,” Sardarizadeh tweeted.
The Economist published an article about Budanov June 20. The outlet also debunked claims about Budanov being killed, including that Budanov had died in a coma in Germany.