April 29, 2022

An image of overturned cars in front of what looks like a building is spreading online as evidence that the war in Ukraine is a hoax.

“I want to buy Ukrainian windows,” text under the image says. “I would like to place an order for these high quality super tough windows from Ukraine, that remained intact and unmarked after the explosion of a Russian bomb that turned over all these cars. Please throw in also some of that same render as on the house, that remained undamaged and clean after the explosion.”

“Everything is fake,” read one Instagram post that shared the image.

It 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.)

Doing a reverse image search, we found that the photo was taken by Associated Press photographer Rodrigo Abd in Bucha, Ukraine, on April 4. A caption of the picture, published on a NBC News affiliate’s website, says: “A Ukrainian soldier walks with children passing destroyed cars due to the war against Russia.”

We also found the photo on Abd’s Instagram page. There, he wrote: “Ukrainian soldier walks with a group of kids next to destroyed cars.”

blast radius is not infinite — the damage stops somewhere — but there’s evidence that these cars were destroyed by Russian military forces on the ground in Bucha, not by an explosion.

Photographer Emanuele Satolli, who took photos at the same scene pictured in the Instagram post, told the Greek fact-checking outlet Ellinika Hoaxes that he “met several citizens and everyone told me that the cars had been overturned by Russian tanks.”

Plenty of other photos Abd shot in Bucha show shattered windows, rubble from devastated buildings, streets in ruins, and human corpses — all the real toll of a real war.

Claims that the war in Ukraine is fake are inaccurate and ridiculous. That’s our definition of 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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Ciara O'Rourke is a contributing writer for PolitiFact. Previously, Ciara covered local government and public safety for the Austin American-Statesman and fact-checked elected officials and…
Ciara O'Rourke

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