FACT CHECK: Facebook Post Falsely Claims Lloyd Austin Was Killed In Ukraine
A post shared on Facebook claims Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin was purportedly killed in Ukraine.
The claim is false and stems from a Jan. 7 article published by the satire site, “Real Raw News.” A spokesperson for the Department of Defense (DOD) denied the claim’s validity in an email to Check Your Fact.
Austin was moved out of the intensive care unit at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday, according to The Washington Post. Both the White House and the Pentagon will review Austin’s alleged lack of disclosure in not immediately informing them he’d been hospitalized, The Associated Press reported.
“Russian Claim: US Secretary of Defence Loyd [sic] Austin Killed In Ukraine [1-7],” the Facebook post purports. The post’s comment section further claims Austin was purportedly killed in a command bunker in Kyiv on Jan. 3 while discussing how to defeat Russian President Vladimir Putin with Lieutenant General Valerii Zaluzhnyi, commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Army. According to the post’s comment section, Russian missiles allegedly struck the bunker during Austin and Zaluzhnyi’s meeting.
The claim is false and stems from a Jan. 7 article published by the satire site, “Real Raw News.” The site includes a “Disclaimer” on its “About Us” page indicating its content is meant to be humorous. “Information on this website is for informational and educational and entertainment purposes. This website contains humor, parody, and satire. We have included this disclaimer for our protection, on the advice on legal counsel,” the disclaimer reads.
Likewise, Check Your Fact found no credible news reports suggesting Austin was purportedly killed in Ukraine. The claim also has not been repeated by the DOD on its website or verified social media accounts. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Migrant Crossings At The Arizona Border?)
In addition, a spokesperson for the DOD denied the claim’s validity in an email to Check Your Fact.
“This is not true,” the spokesperson said.
Austin recently experienced complications following a Dec. 22 elective procedure and was admitted to Walter Reed’s intensive care unit on Jan. 1, the DOD shared in a Jan. 8 post published on their website. He is continuing to recover and “remains in contact with senior advisors,” the DOD indicated via the same post.