Stand up for the facts!

Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.

More Info

I would like to contribute

Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke February 24, 2022

No, this isn’t a photo of a Russian plane under attack in Ukraine

If Your Time is short

  • A photo being shared in the context of Russia invading Ukraine was taken nearly 30 years ago during an airshow in England when two planes collided mid-air. Both pilots survived. 

As news of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine broke on Feb. 24, an image that shows a plane on fire was being shared with the false claim that it depicted current military action. 

"Russia invades Ukraine pt. 4," read the text of one post sharing the image. "Ukraine’s military said it has destroyed four Russian tanks near Kharkiv and killed 50 troops near the Luhansk region. Additionally, six Russian warplanes have been down in the east." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Kyiv Post’s verified Twitter account also shared the photo, tweeting: "the 6th shot down." 

The link to that tweet, now gone, includes a warning instead: "This tweet violated the Twitter rules." 

Featured Fact-check

Reverse image searches show this photo predates the invasion. 

We found several sources placing the image nearly 30 years back when in July 1993, two Russian fighters at an airshow in England collided mid-air. Both pilots, from the Russian Flight Research Institute, ejected from their planes and survived with minor injuries, the Independent reported at the time. 

We rate claims that this shows a Russian warplane under attack during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine False.


Our Sources

Facebook post, Feb. 24, 2022

Kyiv Post tweet, Feb. 24, 2022

TinEye reverse image search, Feb. 24, 2022

Yandex reverse image search, Feb. 24, 2022

Independent, RAF investigates jet collision at airshow: Organisers defend safety rules after fighters crash in mid-air, July 26, 1993

Air Team Images, MiG-29S Fulcrum, July 24, 1993

Collision à "Air Tatoo," visited Feb. 24, 2022

YouTube, Срочные новости! Еще один МиГ-29 упал в Каспийское море!!!!, Jly 26, 2019


Browse the Truth-O-Meter

More by Ciara O'Rourke

No, this isn’t a photo of a Russian plane under attack in Ukraine

Support independent fact-checking.
Become a member!

In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.

Sign me up