Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Captured

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Captured Satire

Does a video circulating on social media show Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the hands of enemy forces, about to be executed? No, that's not true: The person in the video is an actor impersonating Zelenskyy in a YouTube miniseries, meant to be satirical, mocking the Ukrainian president.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) posted on TikTok by the account @vounpocc on April, 27, 2023.

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of this writing:

Screen Shot 2023-04-28 at 3.52.55 PM.png

(Source: TikTok.com screengrab taken Fri Apr 28 03:53:00 2023 EST)

In the video, a person resembling Zelenskyy appears mumbling, with a plastic bag on his head. When the bag is removed, he is excited as he believes he has been accepted into the ranks of the Chechen Akhmat unit, fighting in Ukraine with the Russian forces, but he then realizes that he is a target. He is shown standing, tied up, next to other targets, in a shooting range in front of a soldier who then opens fire with an automatic weapon. The camera cuts away from him but shows the soldier shooting and bullets can be heard being fired.

The video shown on TikTok is the third and final episode of a satirical miniseries in which a fake Zelenskyy surrenders to the Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov, who then sends him to be executed. It comes with a disclaimer, stating:

ДИСКЛЕЙМЕР
Все трюки выполнены профессионалами. Ни один Зеленский не пострадал. Не повторяйте это дома!
("DISCLAIMER All tricks are performed by professionals. Not a single Zelenskyy was hurt. Do not repeat this at home!" as translated by Lead Stories staff).

The title of the video is "Зеленский идёт служить в батальон Ахмат" ("Zelenskyy goes to serve in the Akhmat Battalion," translated by Lead Stories staff). The person shown here is not President Zelenskyy but a comic actor resembling him, who goes by the name Макс Комикадзе, (Max Komikadze). He posted it on his YouTube channel on July, 11, 2022. On the same date, the video was also posted on Kadyrov's account on Telegram. On Max Komikadze's channel, there are several other videos in which he impersonates Zelenskyy.

In addition, Lead Stories performed a Google and Yandex search for news and images of Zelenskyy's capture or disappearance on April, 28, 2023, the day after the video was posted on TikTok, and did not find any reputable reporting of President Zelenskyy being missing or held prisoner.


  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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