Fact Check: Photo of Ukrainians training with mock rifles shared with fake claims

A photo of two men armed with “cardboard guns” is being shared on social media amidst the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

By Misha Rajani  Published on  7 March 2022 5:04 AM GMT
Fact Check: Photo of Ukrainians training with mock rifles shared with fake claims

Hyderabad: A photo of two men armed with "cardboard guns" is being shared on social media amidst the Russia-Ukraine crisis. It is being claimed that the Russian invasion is "fake". The viral image is a screengrab from a news broadcast aired by Fox News. A part of the text below the broadcast reads, "Ukrainian civilians take…"

A Twitter user shared the photo and wrote, "None of it is even real. I'm beginning to think that Biden needed Americans to believe his prediction and the MSM is playing it for you. Cardboard guns, really?" (Archive)

Another wrote, "More fake news entertainment to keep the public terrified! Notice the cardboard Ak-47's in this News clip from Fox News surprisingly! Do you research look into this Ukrainian situation much much deeper guys, it is not what they're telling you it is!" (Archive)


The photo was shared widely on Facebook and Twitter.

Fact Check

NewsMeter found that the photo was from 19 February 2022 during a training drill in Kharkiv, Ukraine, days before Russian armed forces invaded Ukraine.

A reverse image search led us to the same photo uploaded on the stock image websites Shutterstock and Alamy on 19 February. The descriptions said the photo shows two men with rifle cutouts taking cover behind a corner during the territorial defense drill for civilians given by Azov Regiment veterans in Kharkiv, northeastern Ukraine.

According to Vice, Ukrainian civilians were training with wooden weapons as the country faced the prospect of a Russian invasion. Volunteers were being trained by the country's Territorial Defense Force. Due to a short supply of military equipment, new recruits and civilians were learning the basics of warfare using makeshift weapons. Volunteers were being taught to defend themselves using wooden replica weapons at the training sessions run by the voluntary force.


The war in Ukraine is a very real event. A live map showing Russia's invasion of Ukraine can be seen here.

Fox News has also reported on the war in Ukraine (click here and here to view).

Claim Review:Picture of two men armed with mock rifles is proof of the Russian invasion being “staged” or “fake”
Claimed By:Social Media Users
Claim Reviewed By:Newsmeter
Claim Source:Social Media
Claim Fact Check:False
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