Viral image shows Ukrainian soccer team Dynamo Kyiv preparing against Russian forces? No, the viral claim is false

Amid this ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war, Ukrainian citizens have also taken up arms to boost the morale of their army. According to reports, two Ukrainian footballers, Vitalii Sapylo (21) and Dmytro Martynenko (25), died during the Russian invasion. A photo of a group of men in military gear is going viral on social media, claiming that famed Ukrainian football team Dynamo Kyiv have taken up arms against Russian forces. Dynamo Kyiv is a Ukrainian professional football club based in Kyiv.

While sharing this image, a Twitter user wrote, “Full respect to Dynamo Kyiv football team. From football to war. What a brave and inspiring group of men, fighting for their country. Stay safe #DynamoKiev #UkraineRussiaWar #UkraineArmy”.

Riho Terras, Member of the European Parliament, shared this image and wrote: “Looks like soccer training is not scheduled for FC Dynamo Kyiv for a while. A soccer club with almost 100 years of “History shows his camaraderie and love for his country on the battlefield. Good luck to you, soldiers.”

A Facebook user shared this image with a caption that read, “Dynamo Kyiv football team take up arms against Russia”.

It is widely shared on Facebook and Twitter with the same claim.

To claim:

The Ukrainian football team Dynamo Kyiv took up arms against the Russian invaders.

Fact check:

The Logical Indian Fact Check team verified the virus claim and found it to be false. The viral image is of Gonor, a right-wing nationalist group in Ukraine.

During the initial investigation, we scanned the club’s social media profile FC Dynamo Kyiv. However, no such information was mentioned on their Facebook and Twitter page, which can verify the virus claim. We then did a reverse image search on Google and found the image on a verified Facebook page named “Сергій Стерненко” [English Translation: Sergey Sternenko]. The page had uploaded the photo on February 25, the day after Russia attacked Ukraine. The caption for the image reads in English, “Ready. We await new orders. May this night be good for Ukraine and eternal for the Russian invaders”. He also posted the same image on his Instagram. However, we couldn’t find enough information about the viral photo.

Searching further, we found this image on another Instagram page named Gonor. It was shared on February 25. The caption for the image reads in English, “Good night everyone. Death to the invaders! Glory to the Nation”.

By scanning this page, we found several images in which we can see people in military uniform. Additionally, in several images, Gonor Group tagged Sergey Sternenko, who shared the same photo on his profile. Inspired by this, we researched the Gonor group and found that many reports mentioned this group as a Ukrainian right-wing nationalist group. In its report, the South China Morning Post noted Gonor as a far-right Ukrainian activist group.

In the description section of its YouTube channel, the Gonor group presented itself as a modern youth movement that seeks independence and justice for every Ukrainian.

In further investigation, we found a fact-checking report from Reuters. They identified four individuals in the photo who are related to Gonor. Reuters spoke with Serhiv Sterneko, who confirmed that this image was of members of the Gonor group. They also contacted Dynamo Kyiv social media manager Bogdan Ilyuk. He told Reuters the viral image does not show any Dynamo Kyiv football players.

To sum up, an image of a right-wing Ukrainian nationalist group named Gonor in which men can be seen in military uniform is falsely going viral, claiming that the viral photo is of members of the Ukrainian soccer team Dynamo Kyiv, who took arms against Russian forces. Bogdan Ilyuk, Dynamo Kyiv’s social media manager, confirmed to Reuters that the viral photo did not feature any players from Dynamo Kyiv football club. Therefore, the viral claim is false.

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Also read: No, Russia did not stop the war for 6 hours at the request of India; Virus claim rejected by MEA

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