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No, a ‘Ukrainian beauty’ hasn’t blown up 52 Russian tanks

A viral photo of a woman in a military uniform is spreading with the claim that she “blew up 52 invading Russian tanks”. But that’s not true. Let’s take a look at the facts.

A tweet that says “This Ukrainian beauty blew up 52 invading Russian tanks.” The tweet includes a photo of a woman in a military uniform decorated with pins and medals. The News Literacy Project has added a label that says "FALSE."
The woman in this viral photo did not blow up 52 Russian tanks during the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This photo also appears in this March 2021 article published on the Ukrainian military’s news website, which identifies the woman as Maj. Victoria Palamarchuk, a military doctor.
Fact-checkers at The Associated Press confirmed these details elsewhere online and contacted Palamarchuk’s mother, who said that the viral tank claim is a hoax.

NewsLit takeaway

Falsehoods touting alleged Ukrainian heroism have circulated online since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. While it’s impossible to know for sure where this particular falsehood originated, it’s important to be aware that people who use misinformation to “chase clout” and build influence online often target topics that invoke strong public opinions. Amid broad-based global support for Ukraine during this war, these types of hopeful, positive claims are optimized for quick likes and shares. However, they do not help or support Ukraine and may even bolster Russia’s attempts to cast a fog of doubt over all information about the war.

NLP’s viral rumor rundown is a regular feature in The Sift, its weekly email newsletter for educators, and in Get Smart About News, its weekly email newsletter for the general public. You can subscribe to these newsletters here. Send suggestions, questions or feedback on this rumor or on the viral rumor rundown blog to thesift@newslit.org.