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Fact Check-Photo does not show Dynamo Kyiv players in military gear

A widely shared photo of 25 men in military gear has been miscaptioned online, with social media users wrongly saying it shows players from Ukraine’s Dynamo Kyiv soccer team preparing to fight the Russian army. The image actually shows members of the Ukrainian nationalist organization Gonor.

One Twitter user wrote: “Dynamo Kiev players have swapped their football kits for military uniform To defend Ukraine. #Ukraine #Russia”( here ) The post published the image of the Gonor members next to an image of Dynamo Kyiv players in their regular strip. ( here ).

A Facebook post with the miscaptioned image had been shared more than 15,000 times when this article was published ( here ).

More examples can be seen ( here ) ( here ) ( here ) and ( here ) ( here ) ( here ) ( here ) ( here ).

“Gonor” or “Гонор,” originally published the image of its members on Instagram ( here ) and Telegram ( t.me/GonorKyiv/665 ) on Feb. 24, when Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine.

A similar image was published on Instagram by Serhii Sternenko ( here ), a Ukrainian activist and former leader of the far-right radical group Right Sector ( here ), ( here )( here ) ( here ).

Sternenko, who is also a member of Gonor and appears on the photograph (third person from left to right wearing glasses), told Reuters: “We are members of Gonor, not FC Dynamo.”

The BBC ( here ), has described Gonor as a “right-wing nationalist group.” On its YouTube page, the organization describes itself as a “modern youth movement that seeks independence for our state and justice for every Ukrainian.” ( here )

Reuters identified at least three other individuals in the photo who have appeared in other footage related to Gonor.

Bogdan Ilyuk, social media manager for Dynamo Kyiv, told Reuters via email the picture does not show any Dynamo Kyiv football players.

Ukraine’s Football Association and European soccer’s governing body UEFA did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. This picture shows members of the nationalist group Gonor, not players from Dynamo Kyiv.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here.

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