Old Image of Kyiv’s Independence Square Falsely Linked To Ongoing War in Ukraine

The photo of the Independence Square dates back to 2014, when anti-government protests broke out in Kyiv.

Aishwarya Varma
<div class="paragraphs"><p>The photo of the damaged Independence Square is from anti-government protests in 2014.</p></div>

The photo of the damaged Independence Square is from anti-government protests in 2014.

(Source: Facebook/Altered by The Quint)


A set of two photographs showing Ukraine's Independence Square at Kyiv are being shared on social media, which purportedly show the condition of the square five days apart, on 20 February and 25 February. The first shows what the area looks like on a regular day, whereas the second one shows ash, fire, smoke and rubble surrounding it.

The photos are being shared claiming to show a damaged Independence Square in Kyiv on 25 February, a day after Russian forces started invading Ukraine.

However, the claim is misleading. We found that the second photo being shared as a recent visual of the damaged Independence Square is actually from 2014, when large scale anti-government protests erupted in the Ukrainian capital. Activists and protesters had set up camps and barricades around the city's square.


The photographs showing the Independence Square at Kyiv in Ukraine are being shared to claim that it shows the 'before' and 'after' situation of the area, a day after Russia announced Ukraine's invasion.

An archived version of this post can be seen here.

(Source: Facebook/Screenshot)

Archived versions of more posts with the same claim on Facebook and Twitter can be seen here, here, here, and here.



We ran a reverse image search on the photo of the damaged Square on Google, and the results led us to the same photo in articles by Canada's CBC News and The Atlantic. Both articles were published in February 2014 and discussed anti-government protests in Kyiv, Ukraine.

The caption notes that the photo shows the Squareafter protests.

(Source:The Atlantic/Alteredby The Quint)

The photo's caption noted that it showed an "aerial view" of the Independence Square in Kyiv, "during clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police" on 19 February and credited it to Reuters' Olga Yakimovich.

Using relevant keywords, we looked for the photo on Reuters' website, which led us to the same photo as the claim, along with a description noting that it was taken on 19 February 2014.

The photo was taken by Olga Yakimovich in 2014.

(Source: Reuters Pictures/Screenshot)

The description said that the photo showed clashes between anti-government protesters and Interior Ministry members and riot police in central Kyiv, Ukraine.

We looked up news reports on the same for additional context.

A detailed explainer by CNN noted that the protests at Kyiv's Independence Square, also known as Maidan, erupted after former President Viktor Yanukovych suspended talks regarding a "historical political and trade agreement" with the European Union (EU). Russia had threatened Ukraine with sanctions and a hike in fuel rates if the agreement was signed.

Ukrainians were strongly in support of the EU agreement, and as the protests intensified, an anti-protest law was passed by the Ukrainian parliament, raising questions about curtailing people's right to free speech and protests.

This led to further escalations where the protesters occupied the area for three months, eventually leading to clashes between them and riot police.


We looked for news reports on any damage to Kyiv's Independence Square but did not come across any. However, we found tweets from verified Ukrainian media outlets that showed recent visuals of the Square.

On 4 March, The Kyiv Independent tweeted photographs of anti-tank structures being placed around the Independence Square.

We also came across a photo of the Square, undamaged, dated 2 March, 2022 on Getty Images.

(Note: Swipe right to view both images.)

Evidently, the Independence Square in Ukraine's Kyiv has not been affected by the Russian invasion as of 7 March 2022. The photo being shared to claim that the structure had been damaged by 25 February is actually from February 2014, when clashes broke out between anti-government protesters and riot police.

(Not convinced of a post or information you came across online and want it verified? Send us the details on WhatsApp at 9643651818, or e-mail it to us at webqoof@thequint.com and we'll fact-check it for you. You can also read all our fact-checked stories here.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

Published: undefined