Fact Check

Old picture used to depict Russia attack on Ukraine

Claim: A user on Twitter claims the picture of  a  burning inflight  jet was that of the 6th Russian aircraft downed by Ukraine.

The claim showcasing the  picture of a burning inflight  jet that was alleged to be the 6th Russian aircraft downed by Ukraine is false. The picture has been online since 2014 and has featured on different websites, under different narratives. This claim is false. 

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Lately, the  Russian/ Ukrainian tensions have been the major news headlines across the world. Like most prominent topics, this also has made its way to the  social media sphere and users have been sharing multiple reports that have attracted mass attention. 

A typical example of such a narrative is a tweet made by Illia Ponomarenko (@AIPonomarenko) where he  reportedly shared a picture of an inflight burning jet as the 6th Russian aircraft downed by Ukraine.’

The post attracted over 12,000 reactions, and was retweeted over 3,000 times since its appearance online. Multiple comments   shared on the post suggest most users believed the claim. However, others argued that it was not true. 

Claims made during crises can escalate tensions and sometimes even heighten the reality of the situation. As such, Dubawa opts to confirm this claim. 


A Yandex reverse image search showed the image was featured  in a 2014 news report by Khoiro Ummah news. The report details how ‘Al-Qassam successfully Shoots Israeli F-16 Fighter Plane,’ using the image to support the context. 

A screenshot of the alleged picture on Khoiro Ummah News. It dates back to 2014 

Similarly, the Islamic Republic News Agency in 2018 featured the same picture in a news report, with the headline: ‘Syria shoots down Israel’s jet fighter.’

A screenshot of the alleged picture on Islamic Republic News Agency  dating back to 2018

Again, the Mehr News Agency also used the same picture in a news report that dates back to 2018.  Like the other two websites, this one also had a different headline that says: ‘Saudi jet fighter downed by Yemenis.’

A screenshot of the alleged picture on Mehr News Agency also dating back to 2018

Apparently, the alleged picture of the burning in-flight jet seems to have been used by different sources and for different reasons for some years. Nonetheless, while its true source could not be ascertained, it can be confirmed that the image has long existed before the start of the recent Russian/Ukrainian tensions. 


While the Russian/Ukrainian tensions might have been a source of diverse speculations, the picture of the alleged inflight burning aircraft is not from the Russian/Ukrainian frictions.  

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