Fact Check. Russian military replaces Ukrainian flag with Soviet Union flag in Mariupol? – Observer

The images of the exchange of a Ukrainian flag for one of the Soviet Union are being shared on social media as being current and having happened during the conflict in Ukraine, in the Donbass region, namely in Mariupol. At stake are photographs and even video clips in which a soldier is seen climbing a tower, throwing the Ukrainian flag and replacing it with another.

However, the images are not from the war in Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022. A video on the YouTube channel VOXKOMM International, published in March 2015 (seven more years ago), shows exactly that moment, with the title : “Raising the Soviet flag in Donbass.”

In the description of the video it can be read that this act was carried out by the “Prizrak brigade, of communist militants”, which raised the flag in the town of Debaltsev, which they said had been “liberated”.

The images leave no doubt that it is exactly the same moment, this time associated with the current war in Ukraine. However, the event dates back to February 2015, when Debaltsev was at the center of clashes between Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists — and the flag was changed at that time.


The images circulating on social media of Russian soldiers replacing a Ukrainian flag with one of the Soviet Union refer to 2015 and, therefore, it is false that they are from the current war on Ukrainian territory. On YouTube there is a video dated March of that year that shows images of the moment, which took place in Debaltsev, at a time when Ukrainian troops and pro-Russian separatists were in confrontation, which proves that the video and photographs that now are being shared are old and have been recovered.

Thus, according to the Observer classification system, this content is:


In the Facebook ranking system this content is:

FALSE: the main content claims are factually inaccurate. Generally, this option matches the “false” or “mostly false” ratings on fact-checking websites.

NOTE: this content was selected by the Observer as part of a fact checking partnership with Facebook.

IFCN Badge

About Abhishek Pratap

Food maven. Unapologetic travel fanatic. MCU's fan. Infuriatingly humble creator. Award-winning pop culture ninja.

Check Also

Cats know each other’s names and the names of people they live with

In recent years, scientists have been proving that cats really do connect deeply with humans, …