Fact Check: Satellite Image Has Nothing To Do With PMC Wagner Group


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Satellite Image Has Nothing To Do With PMC Wagner Group Altered Photo

Did the private military company (PMC) Wagner send greetings from Belarus using a satellite photo with a three-letter Russian swear word transcribed in Latin as "hui" and translated to English as "dick?" No, that's not true: This "greeting" was digitally manipulated. The original shows a Maxar satellite image that captured the deployment of Russian ground forces in the Russian city of Yelnya in November 2021.

The image was posted on TikTok on August 26 (archived here), by the account @volodia8888. The post reads (translated from Russian by Lead Stories staff):

Wagner sent his regards to someone from RB (Republic of Belarus - LS).

A Russian swear word, which can be translated into English as "dick," can be seen in the lower part of the picture. In Russian, this word is used in different ways, including a very vulgar way of saying hello.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

hi from wagner.jpg

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Tue Sep 5 11:23:32 2023 UTC)

In the footage, the voice of the head of the Wagner Group, Yevgeny Prigozhin, can be heard. The original audio was recorded several months before Prigozhin died after the Russia plane crash on August 23, 2023. Prigozhin is saying a phrase that has become a meme on the Russian-speaking Internet (translated from Russian by Lead Stories staff):

Hello, who is this? This is Zhenya Prigozhin. Ahh, great!

The manipulated image was also posted by the TikTok account @brediviyy (archived here). A caption that accompanied the video reads (translated from Russian by Lead Stories staff):

PMC Wagner reacted to the request of neighboring states to leave Belarus.

Another version with an English caption popped up in a series of posts shared to Twitter, here or here or here, it claimed:

Wagner says "Hello" to the satellites watching them/who are filming them.

The original image has nothing to do with the PMC Wagner, it is a satellite image showing the presence of ground forces in western Russia on November 1, 2021, which raised concerns in the Western world about a possible attack on Ukraine. This was some months before Russia invaded Ukraine.

  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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