Amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict, multiple photos of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in military uniform are being shared claiming that "he has put on military uniform to join troops fighting for their homeland".
The claim is being shared in the backdrop of Russia launching an all-out invasion of Ukraine through land, air and water, following which Zelenskyy has called on all citizens who are ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, adding Ukraine's capital Kyiv will issue weapons to everyone who wants them.
However, we found that all the images are old and are not related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
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Multiple photos are being shared by a journalist named Mustafa Kazemi on Twitter with the claim that read, "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visiting the frontlines in Eastern Ukraine in the wake of Russia’s commencement of its full-scale war against Ukraine. Courtesy photos. (sic)"
Another user has shared it on Twitter with the claim, "The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, is on the ground with his fellow troops. Patriot! Stand with Ukraine.(sic)"
WHAT WE FOUND
We found that the images are old and is not linked to the February Russia-Ukraine conflict. While some of the images are from December 2021, some were from April 2021 when he had visited armed forces in Donbass region of Ukraine.
Let's have a look at the images one-by-one.
The image is also shared by Hananya Naftali on Facebook and the caption read, "This is the President of Ukraine Zelensky. He took off his clothes and put on a military uniform to join the troops in fighting to protect the Ukrainian homeland. He is a true leader.(sic)"
The photo has over 1 lakh likes and 71,000 shares.
We conducted a Google reverse image search on the photo and found it in an article in Kyiv Post, a Ukraine-based media house.
The caption read, "Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky visits combat positions and meets with servicemen at the frontline with Russia-backed separatists in the Donetsk region on the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine on December 6, 2021."
The image courtesy was given to international news agency AFP.
We also found the image on Getty Images published on 6 December 2021.
This image, too, we found on Kyiv Post, published on 18 April 2021. The caption read, "This handout picture taken and released by Ukrainian Presidential Press Service on April 8, 2021 shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the frontline near Zolote, Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine."
We also found the image in an article on CNN published on 13 April 2021.
We conducted a Google reverse image search and found the photo published in The Conversation on 9 December 2021.
Further, a Yandex reverse image search result led us to the website of Ukraine's ministry of defence published on 6 Deccember 2021.
"During a working trip to the Donetsk region, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the frontline positions of the Ukrainian army in the area of the Joint Forces Operation and congratulated the military on the Day of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," the report read.
A Google reverse image search result led us to the website of a Paris-based website named 'rfi'.
The caption of the photo read, "Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists during his working trip in Donbass region, Ukraine April 8, 2021."
A Google reverse image search result led us to an article on news agency Reuters published on 21 April 2021.
The caption of the photo read, "Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visits positions of armed forces near the frontline with Russian-backed separatists in Donbass region, Ukraine April 9, 2021."
On Friday, 25 February, Zelenskyy released a self-shot video standing outside the presidential building in central Kyiv, alongside the Prime Minister, chief of staff and other senior aides, vowing to stay and defend the capital against Russia, saying, "We are all here."
All of them can be seen in identical dressings, but it's unclear whether it is military uniform or not.
The video can be seen from 0:37 secs-1:09 mins.
Further, he also released a video on Saturday, 26 February, asking people not to believe in fake news. He wasn't seen in Army attire in the video.
Clearly, several old images are being passed off on social media falsely linking it to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.