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Fact Check-No evidence photo shows a Ukrainian soldier who ‘blew up 52 Russian tanks’

There is no evidence that a Ukrainian woman pictured in military garb is a soldier who “blew up 52 invading Russian tanks”, as has been claimed online. Reuters traced the picture back to a 2021 article on the Ukrainian military’s news website which said the woman is a medic.

The image, shared thousands of times (here), shows a woman dressed in a military uniform adorned with Ukrainian medals. It carries the caption: “This Ukrainian beauty blew up 52 invading Russian tanks.”

Other versions of the claim can be found on Facebook (here, here and here) where it has had dozens of shares and interactions.

Reuters was unable to find any public evidence that the woman in the picture is serving in a combat role, nor any evidence that she has destroyed 52 tanks since the Feb. 24 invasion.

The image can be traced back to March 2021 when it was published by Army Inform (here), an information arm of the Ukrainian Defence Ministry (armyinform.com.ua/about-us/), as part of an article profiling personnel.

According to Army Inform, the photo shows Major Victoria Palamarchuk, a traumatologist who has worked with the Ukrainian Medical Service since 2014.

It adds that Palamarchuk at the time was working as a senior resident in a traumatology department of a surgical clinic.

She carried out “complex operations” such as repairing gunshot wounds and amputations, the article said.

Meanwhile, another feature article published in October 2021 described Palamarchuk’s membership in a military motorcycle club (here).

Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence said on April 17 that Russian forces had lost at least 773 tanks in the conflict (here).

Oryx, a closely watched military blog which tallies both sides' losses based on verifiable visual evidence, Russia had lost at least 2,770 items of military equipment as of April 12, including at least 476 tanks that had been destroyed, damaged, abandoned or captured (here).

Reuters has previously addressed similar claims regarding Ukrainian troops, including the unverified story of an anonymous fighter jet pilot dubbed ‘the Ghost of Kyiv’ (here, here and here).

VERDICT

No evidence. There is no proof that the woman in the photo has destroyed 52 Russian tanks. According to a profile published in March 2021, the woman is a medic.

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

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