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Fact Check-Image of people praying in the snow in Ukraine dates to at least 2019

As tension increased between Russian and Ukraine in February 2022, a widely shared image showing people in Ukraine kneeling and praying in the snow is circulating online. The picture however, traces back to at least 2019.

“Ukrainian Christians pray outdoors, in the snow, for their country in this phase of war danger,” reads part of a Facebook post dated Feb. 18, 2022 that features the image. The iteration had been shared more than 13,960 times at the time of writing this article ( here ).

Other examples of posts describing the image as a “breaking” news event can be found: ( here ), ( here ), ( here ). Iterations on Twitter can be found ( here ), ( here ).

The photo, which shows pairs of people on their knees facing each other, has been circulating online since at least Sept. 2019 and appears to depict a prayer in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv (Kharkov).

A reverse image search led to an article crediting the picture to “IMB” ( here ).

The International Mission Board (IMB) is a Baptist missionary society ( www.imb.org/about/ ). They published an article on their website featuring the picture on Sept. 25, 2019 entitled “Standing on Our Knees” ( here ).

According to the article, the picture depicts a prayer group in Kharkiv's city square that began meeting in 2014, following military action by separatists ( here ).

Reuters geolocated the image to the city square. The building, which is the House of State Industry or “Derzhprom”( here ), ( here ) visible on Google Street View ( bit.ly/3sa3XX8 ) matches the structure that is visible in the picture.

One of the worst security crises in Europe in decades is unfolding as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine to "keep the peace." Washington has dismissed as "nonsense" that justification to deploy troops to the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk after Moscow recognised them as independent ( here ).

Find the latest Reuters coverage on the developing story ( www.reuters.com/places/ukraine ).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. This image was not captured amid the increased tension between Russia and Ukraine in Feb. 2022. It was taken in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov and traces back to at least Sept. 2019.

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

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