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How Russian occupiers suddenly became Ukrainian defenders: the story of a photofake

Fake photos of Russian soldiers are being shared on social media. They are presented as Ukrainian soldiers, supposedly sleeping in the snow, forced to defend our country in such conditions. We can prove that these photos were actually taken before the Russian invasion and are in fact a cyclical fake. They have already been circulated on many platforms and used in very different contexts, none of which are true.

Ukrainians pay the highest price in the war against Russia just for their existence - with their health and their lives. The conditions of service of our military may differ, but these are NOT Ukrainian soldiers. This photo is more than 10 years old.

We can’t believe our eyes. A fake that has been refuted a million times is being spread on social media again. And people are falling for it just as massively. 

Photos of allegedly Ukrainian soldiers sleeping in snowdrifts are being shared on social media, accompanied by a poem: 

“Aren’t you glad for this enchanting sight,

Large snowflakes fall from clouds at height,

Yet in a trench, someone’s husband or son, 

In a cold helmet sits, numbed to the bone...”

This is a photo fake. Anything can happen in war; sometimes, you have to sleep in the snow, but it’s regrettably sad when russian occupiers are passed off as Ukrainian defenders. 

Aliona Leonova Tokova


Aren’t you glad for this enchanting sight,

Large snowflakes fall from clouds at height,

Yet in a trench, someone’s husband or son, 

In a cold helmet sits, numbed to the bone.... More


These are not Ukrainian soldiers in the photo. These photos were taken at least ten years ago, before the russian-Ukrainian war. They show the so-called russian special forces undergoing survival training.

The author of the quoted poem is Yulia Pospolita Levchenko. She did indeed illustrate the poem with photographs of the russian occupiers. However, she didn’t do it on purpose but by mistake. 

“I thought it was one of ours (soldiers – Behind the News). I wrote the poem because on this day last year, the first snow fell. And then I searched for photos on Google using the words ‘Ukrainian Armed Forces soldier, winter, snow,’ and this photo caught my eye,” Yulia explained to us.

These photos have been used in many different ways: they were used to illustrate tearful Ukrainian poetry, posts raising funds for warm clothes for the Ukrainian military, patriotic posts in Georgia “about the price of peace” (the TinEye service allows you to track the history of photo posts). In addition, there’s even the news flash from December 2014 that “ATO soldiers spend the night in the trenches under a ‘blanket’ of snow”.

Last year, these photos were also shared on Facebook with the words: “The price of a free and independent Ukraine.” 

These are all cyclical fakes, whose longevity is enviable. Nothing but lies, which are refuted in good faith every year, but they persist as if nothing had happened. 

Please share this post to bring the truth to as many people as possible. In the meantime, we’ll prepare universal tips on how to identify such blatant lies  small logo

фактчекерка на всі крильця
Halyna Dolynna
Halyna Dolynna
editor of the English texts
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