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Fact Check-Doctored image of billboard telling Britons ‘you’ll be cold this winter’ viewed widely on social media

A picture of a billboard in Manchester, England, telling Britons they’ll be cold this winter because Ukrainians are more in need has been digitally altered.

The doctored image has been viewed by thousands of people on social media (here , here and here), having been used to criticise Britain’s support for Ukraine amidst the latter’s conflict with Russia (read more nS8N2ZH0F0 ).

On the fabricated billboard, a message reading, “You’ll be cold this winter // Because they need it more,” is printed over the blue and yellow colours of Ukraine’s flag.

“Yes, I'm sure the single mother shivering in the cold with her baby because she could only afford food and not the gas bill will take much solace in knowing her sacrifice will ensure that a war 1500 miles away is prolonged,” wrote one Twitter user, whose Aug. 24 post was liked 12,000 times (here).

An unedited version of the original image reveals the billboard neither carried the message nor the Ukrainian flag. Rather, it displayed multiple posters advertising music events around Manchester and can be found on the website of British advertising agency KMS Media (here and www.kms-media.co/what-we-do ).

Analysis using the FotoForensics tool also shows how the image was doctored (here ).

Gas flows from Russia, Europe's top supplier, are running at reduced levels this year, after one route was shut in February when Russia invaded Ukraine, and after sanctions triggered a dispute about the Nord Stream 1 pipeline's equipment (here ).

While Britain is less reliant on Russian gas compared to the European continent, prices have still surged as a result of knock-on effects, stoking concerns about energy cost and supply this winter (here and nL8N2Z869N ).

VERDICT

Altered. The original photo shows the billboard covered with posters for music events around Manchester.

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

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