April 20, 2022

An Instagram post appears to show a screenshot of a tweet from CNN about child soldiers in Ukraine, but the tweet was fabricated.

The April 15 post says CNN tweeted about “brave children” in Ukraine signing up to fight Russia. The post’s profile photo shows CNN’s logo alongside Twitter’s signature blue check mark that means the account is verified.

The text on the fake tweet says, “As fighting intensifies in Eastern Ukraine, brave children sign up to fight the Russian invaders. We spoke to one girl, named Olga from Zaporizhzhia, aged 12, who tells her story of taking up arms to fight invading Russian troops.” It includes a photo of children wearing fatigues and standing in formation, with a text overlay that says, “CNN supporting use of child soldiers.”

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

CNN told Associated Press and Reuters fact checkers that the tweet is not real. The tweet, which is dated April 11, does not appear on the network’s Twitter page or in online archives. The AP also noted that “there are no tweets showing other users reacting to such a post, which would still be visible even if the original had been deleted.”

CNN did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for information.

The photo in the post was taken in 2017. It was published in a March 30, 2022, story by CNN about the Azov Battalion of the Ukraine military. In that story, the photo caption says it was taken outside Kyiv on July 14, 2017, and shows “a student at a paramilitary camp for children call(ing) the rank to attention.”

The AP confirmed with the photographer, Alex Masi, that it was taken at a “summer camp from 2016-17, where kids learn about the realities of war.”

CNN did not tweet about “brave children” in Ukraine signing up to fight Russia, and we rate the claim Pants on Fire!

This fact check was originally published by PolitiFact, which is part of the Poynter Institute. It is republished here with permission. See the sources for this fact check here and more of their fact checks here.

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Monique Curet is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. She has worked as a reporter covering business, agribusiness, medicine and police at The Columbus Dispatch and…
Monique Curet

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