Fact Check-Maidan protest imagery from 2014 miscaptioned on social media

Photos and a video captured during the 2014 Maidan protests in Ukraine have been shared on social media in February 2022 to falsely claim they depict the invasion by Russia.

The pictures, posted as a collection of four, show different scenes all backdropped by flames. Individuals in the foreground of two are launching objects that are alight, while a man in a third shows his middle finger to those stood behind him. The fourth photo shows a person behind a makeshift barricade aiming a slingshot (here , here , here ).

“Ukrainian citizens destroy 2 Russian tanks with molotov cocktails(Petrol, Gasoline) in Kiev,” said one social media user in the caption of their post.

The video, meanwhile, shows burning objects being launched at a tank. One Facebook user wrote on Feb. 26 of the clip: “What you’re seeing here is footage of Russian tanks rolling through the streets of Ukraine, but being met with homemade Molotov cocktails” (here).

Russia has pounded Ukrainian cities with artillery and cruise missiles since launching its full-scale invasion on Feb. 24 (here). Ukrainian resistance has been far stronger than Moscow had initially expected, according to Western intelligence sources who say Russia’s advances were significantly slowed (here).

However, the video and four photos described above can be traced back to 2014, when Ukrainian anti-government protesters clashed with riot police in a series of events culminating in the fall of the then Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich (here). They do not depict developments in the 2022 Russian invasion.

The first photo, seen here, was captured on Jan. 25, 2014, by AFP photographer Dmitry Serebryakov. The original can be seen here .

The second photo, seen here was captured on Jan. 22, 2014, by photographer Roman Pilipey, for the European Press Photo Agency (here) .

The third (here) was shared by Russian journalist Ilya Varlamov as he described his experience covering the protests on Jan. 22, 2014 (here).

The fourth and final photo (here) was captured by documentary photographer Brendan Hoffman, who penned a piece in 2014 about his coverage and included his shot (here).

The video, meanwhile, can be traced back to February 2014, when footage from the same incident was broadcast on a Ukrainian news channel (here timestamp: 0.27).

The same clip was also used in the 2015 Netflix documentary ‘Winter on Fire: Ukraine's Fight for Freedom’ (here) (timestamp 01:11:10), (here).


Miscaptioned. Four dramatic photographs and a video clip of Ukrainians protesting were not captured in 2022. They date back to the Maidan protests in 2014.

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