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Digitally Altered Photo Portrays Ukrainian Soldiers as Nazis

  • A photo of two people presented as Ukrainian soldiers, wearing Nazi eagle patches on their uniforms, is circulating on social media;
  • The image is digitally altered, the InVID/WeVerify photo verification tool shows;
  • The Ukrainian flag patch was added to one of the uniforms by photomontage and the eagle on the sleeve of the person on the right was copied and pasted from the uniform of the man on the left.

A digitally altered photo of two people presented as Ukrainian soldiers is circulating on social networks and online media. Patches with Nazi eagles – the emblem of the National Socialist German Workers’ Party and later of the Third Reich, can be seen on their uniforms.

Factcheck.bg checked the image using the InVID/WeVerify tool. It showed that the picture is digitally altered – the patch depicting the Ukrainian flag was doctored and the Nazi eagle on the sleeve of the person on the right was copied and pasted from the uniform of the man on the left.

The InVID/WeVerify photo verification tool enables image verification using various algorithms. The GHOST algorithm compresses and processes parts of the image, highlighting regions that are likely to originate from a different image. White, light green or light blue areas correspond to possible traces of image tampering.

The watermark of the Telegram channel Бэнди/Bandy can be seen in some of the photos. The channel distributes content supporting the Russian propaganda narrative, claiming that “Ukrainians are fascists”.

Some of the publications spreading the altered image point to a post on the profile of Jackson Hinkle in the social network X as their source. Hinkle is an American YouTuber and political commentator known on social media for his pro-Russian views and for his romantic relationship with Miss Russia Anna Linnikova evident from his social media profiles. His Twitch account has been removed for spreading a debunked conspiracy theory – that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky fled Ukraine after the beginning of the Russian invasion in 2022.

Kremlin propaganda regularly uses altered videos and images to portray Ukrainians as “Nazis”. The need to “denazify Ukraine” was one of the reasons Russia used to justify its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Similar altered images, falsely portraying Ukrainians as Nazis, have been exposed by various media outlets and fact-checkers.

Macedonian fact-checking organisation Truthmeter.mk exposed an altered photo of newlyweds giving a Nazi salute in front of a Ukrainian flag, which was not originally part of the image.

Albanian fact-checking organisation Faktoje.al debunked an image of alleged Ukrainian soldiers holding the flag of the Third Reich. Similarly, the flag was not part of the original image.

Fact-Checked:

The widely-distributed photo of two people presented as Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi eagle patches on their uniforms is digitally altered. Factcheck.bg checked the image using the InVid/WeVerify tool. It showed the patch with the Ukrainian flag was added to the original image and the eagle on the sleeve of the person standing on the  right was duplicated from the left and added to the photo.

Sources

Hate Symbol –  Nazi Eagle: https://www.adl.org/resources/hate-symbol/nazi-eagle 

InVID/WeVerify: https://www.invid-project.eu/ 

Как работи дезинформацията: „Денацификацията” на Украйна: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47lYOaEy_mQ 

Amazon-Owned Twitch Spreading Russian Misinformation on Ukraine:  https://www.techtransparencyproject.org/articles/amazon-owned-twitch-spreading-russian-misinformation-ukraine 

Photos of Nazi symbols in Ukraine are shared out of context: https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/truth-or-fake/20220322-photos-of-nazi-symbols-in-ukraine-are-shared-out-of-context 

Is there any truth to Russia’s ‘Ukrainian Nazis’ propaganda?: https://www.dw.com/en/fact-check-is-there-any-truth-to-russias-ukrainian-nazis-propaganda/a-63970461 

With an Edited Photo Taken in Russia, Ukraine Is Accused of Being Nazi: https://truthmeter.mk/with-an-edited-photo-taken-in-russia-ukraine-is-accused-of-being-nazi/ 

Manipulated photo of Ukrainian soldiers with the Nazi flag: https://en.faktoje.al/manipulated-photo-of-ukrainian-soldiers-with-the-nazi-flag/ 

This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The responsibility for the content lies entirely with Factcheck.bg.

Публикацията е създадена с подкрепата на Европейския съюз. Отговорността за съдържанието е изцяло на Factcheck.bg.

Vanya Grivova
Vanya Grivova
Vanya Grivova graduated in journalism from the University of St. Kliment Ohridski" in 2022. She has worked as an online media editor. She is interested in topics connected with ecology, green agriculture, European politics, as well as culture and European integration in the Balkans.

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