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Bill McCarthy
By Bill McCarthy March 18, 2022

Viral image of helicopter lifting tractor does not show NATO ‘resupplying Ukrainian farmers’

If Your Time is short

  • A viral photo of a helicopter airlifting a tractor predates Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine. An Indian tractor manufacturer posted it on Twitter in November 2020.

  • The helicopter in the photo is labeled “Indian Air Force.” India is not a member of NATO.

An old photo of an Indian Air Force helicopter hauling a tractor has been recontextualized online amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Thousands of Facebook users are sharing a post that falsely claims the image shows NATO assistance in Ukraine.

The widespread image, shared March 10 on Facebook and with at least 29,000 likes, is the latest in the flurry of out-of-context photos and videos that have gone viral since the start of the war.

"NATO resupplying Ukrainian farmers (with) anti-tank supplies," the Facebook post says.

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.)

Featured Fact-check

The picture in the post dates back to at least 2020. PolitiFact found an earlier version of the same photo via reverse image searching. Mahindra Tractors, an Indian tractor manufacturer, posted it on Twitter in November 2020. It then appeared in some articles online.

"A ‘Tough’ flight which only Mahindra Tractor can dare dream of @ 11,000 ft," the company wrote in the Nov. 2, 2020, tweet. 

Mahindra Group, the company’s parent conglomerate with headquarters in India, did not immediately respond to PolitiFact’s inquiry asking where and when the photo was snapped and what it showed. We did not immediately hear back from NATO, either. 

But it is clear that the photo predates Russia’s 2022 assault on Ukraine and does not show NATO airlifting anti-tank supplies to farmers in the country, as the viral Facebook post claimed. The chopper in the 2020 photo is labeled, "Indian Air Force." India is not a member of NATO.

We rate this Facebook post False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, March 10, 2022

Reverse image searches on Google, TinEye and Yandex, March 18, 2022

Tweet, Nov. 2, 2020

North Atlantic Treaty Organization, "NATO Member Countries," Aug. 31, 2020

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Viral image of helicopter lifting tractor does not show NATO ‘resupplying Ukrainian farmers’

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