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Yacob Reyes
By Yacob Reyes March 21, 2022

Facebook post uses edited images of Ukrainian farmers towing Russian weaponry

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  • These images of Ukrainian farmers seizing Russian military equipment with tractors have not been verified, and several of them were digitally altered using photos that predate the 2022 conflict.

Footage of tractors towing away large weaponry has repeatedly circulated on social media since Russia invaded Ukraine. Tractors have emerged as an unlikely symbol of Ukraine’s resilience.

Certainly, farmers are among those hardest hit by Russia’s attack. Ukraine’s leaders have called on the agricultural sector to maintain food supply as crops and fields are threatened by bombings and missiles. So while these posts may have the effect of raising pro-Ukrainian morale, some of the images they share may deserve a more skeptical look as they haven’t been verified. 

"Ukrainian farmers are slowly starting to build their own army," read a March 16 caption alongside a collage of five images showing Russian tanks, jets, and warships hitched onto tractors.

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 first picture, showing a farmer hauling away a massive warship, was posted by a satirical Twitter account named "Sputnik_Not," referencing Russia’s state-owned news agency, Sputnik News. 

A reverse image search revealed that the user photoshopped the tractor against the backdrop of the Admiral Kuznetsov — a Russian aircraft carrier. The photo was published on the actual Sputnik News website on Oct. 30, 2018.

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The second image, showing the farming vehicle towing a Russian tank, and the third image, depicting a rocket attached to a tractor, also appeared on the satirical Twitter account. 

We couldn’t verify the authenticity of the photo showing the tank being towed, though it appears to be a screengrab from footage surfacing on tabloid sites and social media. A reverse image search on TinEye dated the image back to March 5.

PolitiFact found an earlier version of the third photo in Getty Images archives. That image depicted the Russian rocket in transit. According to the Getty caption, it was taken by photographer Bill Ingalls for NASA on Oct. 9, 2018, in Kazakhstan — without a green tractor attached and thousands of miles away from Ukraine.

The fourth picture in the Facebook post shows a tractor resting slightly above the water, supposedly pulling a Russian nuclear submarine. It was photographed in France on Sept. 21, 2004, and was digitally altered to include the tractor.

The central image in the collage depicted an aircraft hitched to a tractor.  It was taken during a celebration of Croatia’s military in 2011 and ran with a story published by, a Croatian news outlet. 

Only one of the images included in the compilation could not be verified. Still, none of them accurately reflect the enduring conflict in Ukraine or point to farmers in the country "slowly starting to build their own army." We rate this claim False.

Our Sources

Facebook post, March 16, 2022

Vice, The Tractor Has Become a Symbol of Ukrainian Resistance, March 16, 2022

Reuters, Ukraine’s farmers stalled, fueling fears of global food shortages, March 11, 2022

CBC, Famous for towing captured Russian tanks, Ukrainian farmers step up for war effort, March 18, 2022

Reverse image searches on Google and TinEye, March 21, 2022

Tweet, March 10, 2022

Sputnik, Jeřáb, který spadl na Admirala Kuzněcova, prorazil díru velikostí 4x5 metrů, Oct. 20, 2018

Tweet, March 6, 2022

Tweet, March 9, 2022

Daily Mail, Ukrainian farmer appears to tow away a Russian tank, March 8, 2022

Youtube, Tracker vs Tank compilation, March 12, 2022

Getty Images, Expedition 57 Soyuz Rollout, Oct. 9, 2018

Getty Images, A file picture taken in Brest Harbor, Sept. 21, 2004, Stigao im MIG umjesto noćnog tramvaja: Avion vukao traktor, May 26, 2011

PolitiFact, Viral image of helicopter lifting tractor does not show NATO ‘resupplying Ukrainian farmers’, March 18, 2022

Snopes, Is This Tractor Towing a Russian Jet Captured in Ukraine, March 16, 2022


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Facebook post uses edited images of Ukrainian farmers towing Russian weaponry

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