Fact Check-Zelenskiy’s desk digitally altered in videoconference clip

A manipulated video showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a conference call with Elon Musk is circulating online. The footage has been digitally altered to include white powder, which some social media users have said is cocaine on his desk.

An iteration on TikTok has garnered over 526,800 reproductions as of April 26 (here).

Other examples are viewable (here) (here) (here) (here).

The original footage, in a higher resolution, was shared by Zelenskiy’s verified Instagram account on March 5. No powder is visible on the desk in this unaltered version (here).

This video was also featured in reports about the exchange by The Guardian (here), the BBC (here) and the Hindustan Times (here).

Elliot Higgins, founder and director of Bellingcat, an organization experienced in digital investigations, posted on Twitter a side-by-side comparison of the manipulated versus authentic videos (here).

Reuters has previously debunked other instances of digitally manipulated footage of Zelenskiy (here) (here).


Altered. This clip has been digitally manipulated to include white powder on the desk. The original footage was posted on Instagram by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

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