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• The press conference was held in May 2020 and featured a Ukrainian lawmaker, Andrii Derkach, who is described by U.S. officials as an active Russian agent.
• Recordings of President Joe Biden that Derkach released corroborate Biden’s description of his dealings in Ukraine.
In the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a 2020 video of a Ukrainian lawmaker leveling unsubstantiated allegations against Biden is being presented as new in social media posts.
The video, posted March 1 on Facebook, had a caption that said, "Ukraine Press Release About Joe Biden." The video featured Andrii Derkach, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, talking in front of a backdrop that says Interfax, the name of a Russian news agency.
The video’s caption was later updated to add, "I am not sure when this was released. Either way it warrants prayer because someone has been caught red handed."
The 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.)
The caption gives the misleading impression that Ukraine recently released information about Biden. In reality, the footage was from a press conference held in May 2020 — and it was orchestrated not by Ukraine, but by Derkach, who U.S. officials have described as an active Russian agent, the Associated Press reported.
Derkach was sanctioned by both the U.S. and Ukraine after being accused of interfering in the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
During the 2020 press conference, Derkach revealed audio recordings of 2015 phone conversations between then-Vice President Biden and then-Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. An Interfax story claimed the recordings revealed "the receipt of "$1 billion in exchange for maintaining Burisma schemes and international corruption."
Derkach was advancing a claim, also pushed by former President Donald Trump and his supporters, that Biden tried to protect Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company where his son, Hunter Biden, served on the board of directors. The unfounded allegation was that Biden withheld funding to Ukraine until the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, was fired, because Shokin had launched a criminal investigation into Burisma.
"(T)he corruption theories have been discredited because Shokin did not have an active investigation into Hunter Biden’s work and because Joe Biden, in seeking Shokin’s firing, was representing the official position of the Obama administration, Western allies and many in Ukraine who perceived the prosecutor as soft on corruption," the AP reported.
And the audio recordings released by Derkach "shed relatively little new light on Biden’s actions in Ukraine," the Washington Post reported. The AP concurred, noting that the recordings "largely confirm Biden’s account of his dealings in Ukraine."
The caption on a Facebook video says, "Ukraine Press Release About Joe Biden," and includes video footage of a press conference featuring Derkach.
The caption implies that Ukraine recently released information about Biden. But the video featured in the post is from a press conference held in May 2020 and orchestrated by Derkach, who has been described by U.S. officials as an active Russian agent.
During the press conference, Derkach revealed audio tapes that he said served as evidence of Biden’s misuse of American taxpayer money. But the recordings corroborated Biden’s own account of his dealings in Ukraine.
We rate this claim False.
Associated Press, "Biden audio first shared by ‘Russian agent’ thrives online," Sept. 12, 2020
Facebook post, March 1, 2022
Interfax, "MP Derkach hands over materials to PGO allegedly testifying to Biden's influence on Poroshenko," May 19, 2020
Jurist, "Ukraine imposes sanctions on former parliament member linked to US misinformation campaign," Aug. 23, 2021
Washington Post, "Opinion: Why the latest revelations on Biden and Ukraine are a gigantic nothingburger," May 21, 2020
Washington Post, "Ukrainian lawmaker releases leaked phone calls of Biden and Poroshenko," May 19, 2020
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