Fact Check-Digitally altered image showing construction machinery at kindergarten in Ukraine

Social media users have shared a digitally altered image showing construction machinery outside a kindergarten in eastern Ukraine that was damaged by shelling.

Russian-backed rebels and Ukrainian forces traded accusations on Feb. 17 that each had fired across the ceasefire line in eastern Ukraine ( here ).

The separatists accused government forces of opening fire on their territory four times in the past 24 hours, while Ukraine accused the rebels of firing shells, including some that struck a kindergarten, causing shell-shock to two civilians ( here ).

Reuters pictures of the scene can be seen ( here ), ( here ), ( here ), ( here ).

Twitter user @Xr_Trirogulivka has claimed to be the author of the edited image. “I photoshopped [it] myself,” he wrote on Feb. 17 ( originally in Russian) ( here ) (archived version: here). In his tweet, the user published what appears to be a screenshot of the editing software Photoshop, depicting how he digitally included the image of the construction machinery.

The image used in the background of the altered photo appears to come from a video posted on Facebook on Feb. 17 ( here ).

Elliot Higgins, director and founder of Bellingcat, an organization expert in digital investigations, addressed the altered photo on Twitter ( here ).

An iteration of the edited image on Twitter had gained over 580 retweets as of the writing of this article ( here ).

Posts on Facebook can be seen ( here ), ( here ).

Some shared the manipulated image to claim the shelling was staged. “Construction equipment which punched a hole,” one Twitter user commented ( here ).

“@POTUS so the hole in the Kindergarten in Ukraine were NO children got hurt and is under control by the Ukrainians wasnt (sic) done due to construction? Even the wall was cut straight up. Ukrainians posted the photo,” another user wrote ( here ).

“Am I shocked that just outside there is a pneumatic hammer on a backhoe just outside the building where the "shelling" occurred? Am I shocked the windows are still intact? Not really,” a third one commented ( here ).

For the latest Reuters coverage on the developing story, see ( ).


Altered. This picture of a kindergarten in Ukraine was digitally altered to include construction machinery.

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