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Fact Check-Photo shows former Miss Ukraine, not the first lady

Photos of women in military uniforms are going viral online alongside claims that the images show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s wife, Olena Zelenska.

In one instance, a social media user shared a photo of a young woman with brown hair, wearing goggles and armed with a rifle (here). Text over the image reads: “Ukraine president wife.”

The user also wrote in their caption: “This picture is wife of Ukraine president but people said miss Ukraine...”

The photo, however, in fact shows former Miss Ukraine, Anastasiia Lenna.

Lenna was Miss Grand Ukraine in the 2015 Miss Grand International pageant here).

She shared the portrait in question on Feb. 22, 2022 (here).

According to reports, Lenna has joined Ukrainian forces to fight (here, here).

The weapon in the photo shared on social media, however, appears to be a mock air weapon, as seen here.

Previous images Lenna shared before the Russian invasion show her equipped with mock rifles and playing airsoft, a team game using the guns (here, here).

In a post shared on Feb. 28, Lenna appeared to confirm the weapon was an airsoft gun (here). She wrote (translated): “I am not a military, just a woman, just normal human. Just a person, like all people of my country.

“I am also a airsoft player for years. You can Google what #airsoft means.

“All pictures in my profile to inspire people.”

Reuters has previously addressed others posts that link a stock picture of a woman in military garb as Olena Zelenska (here).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. The photo depicts former Miss Ukraine Anastasiia Lenna, not Olena Zelenska.

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

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