Fact Check: Ukrainian TV Did NOT Air A Misleading Video With Zelenskyy


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Ukrainian TV Did NOT Air A Misleading Video With Zelenskyy Doctored Video

Did Ukrainian television channel 1+1 air a misleading video depicting Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's speech at the United Nations, editing footage to make the hall appear full when it was actually half-empty and showing Zelenskyy himself sitting in the hall among the listeners? No, that's not true: Channel 1+1 told Lead Stories by email it was disinformation and presented evidence to support that. Lead Stories found that 1+1 channel never aired such a misleading video.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on the TikTok account @kolyaphxn1n on September 23, 2023. It was also shared by the account @kent_patriot27.

The text overlay of the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) stated:

On Ukrainian television, they showed an edited performance of Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

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

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 10.56.42.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Feb 12 11:10:10 2024 UTC)

The 35-second video begins with an excerpt from Zelenskyy's speech at the U.N. General Assembly, shown through the first second, when some empty seats in the hall are visible. The empty seats are also visible at 0:13 and 0:32 to 0:35-minute marks. These frames do not feature a 1+1 channel logo. There are frames featuring the 1+1 channel logo at the 0:04 to 0:06 mark when Zelenskyy is seen delivering his speech to a filled hall, and during the 0:11 to 0:31 mark, when he is mostly seen sitting in the hall, purportedly listening to his own speech.

In the video, the voice off-screen reports (as translated):

... at the U.N. General Assembly with a half-empty hall. But not for Ukrainian viewers. Kyiv media, against the backdrop of Western fatigue from a person in khaki clothing, decided to present the desired as reality. And here is the report on the meeting as it was edited on Ukrainian television. Zelenskyy at the podium, followed by shots of a filled hall. Everyone supposedly attentively listens to the head of the Kyiv regime, but it can be easily noticed that among those sitting, unexpectedly is Zelenskyy himself. The footage, obviously, is taken from another speaker's speech. Trying to create the impression of a full house through editing, Ukrainian television producers clearly overdid it.

On September 19, 2023, Zelenskyy urged a global front against Russian aggression in a dramatic speech delivered during the General Assembly. It was his first in-person address to the global body since Russia's 2022 invasion. During his speech, one can see some empty seats in the hall, such as at 7:40-minute mark.

Lead Stories found that this 35-second video is an excerpt from a news report (archived here) by the Russian state media Channel One, dated September 21, 2023. Lead Stories also found that Channel One added "revealing shots" featuring empty seats during Zelenskyy's speech at the General Assembly to the video frames of a 26-second edited video (archived here) circulating online.

Social media users claimed that this video was edited by the Ukrainian channel 1+1 to portray the hall as full when it was actually half-empty, mistakenly showing Zelenskyy himself seated among the listeners. In the 26-second video during Zelenskyy's speech, five video frames are shown, depicting not the speaker but the listeners in the audience. Channel One's 35-second video utilizes three of these frames, repeatedly showing the frame where Zelenskyy appears to be listening to his own speech.

Strategic Marketing Director of channel 1+1 Olga Zakharova said (archived here) on her official Facebook page on September 21, 2023, that this 26-second video was a fake, and that the source of this fake was the pro-Russian propagandist Anatoly Shariyy, (archived here) who published this edited video (archived here) on his Telegram channel. In the 35-second Channel One video, Zelenskyy's words are muted, while in the 26-second video that Channel One drew from, Zelenskyy's words can be heard. Zelenskyy speaks in English, with the translator's voice speaking Ukrainian overlaid on top. He says (translated from Ukrainian to English by Lead Stories staff):

... not to deploy, not to proliferate, not to threaten with, and not to test, but to promote a complete nuclear disarmament. Frankly, this is a good strategy. But it should not be the only strategy to protect the world from this final war. Ukraine gave up its third largest nuclear arsenal.

Using these words by Zelenskyy, Lead Stories found a 12-hour live broadcast, a fragment of which was used by the authors of the 26-second video, on the YouTube channel TSN or Television News Service -- a daily news program of the 1+1 channel that airs live. In this video, Zelenskyy's speech starts at 1:35:30, and the words from the 26-second video are spoken by Zelenskyy at 1:36:48. In this broadcast's fragment, Lead Stories found no video frames showing Zelenskyy sitting in the audience during his speech.

Lead Stories also found that four of the five video frames depicting not the speaker but the listeners in the audience in the 26-second video did not come from the TSN broadcast. The first, second and fourth frames were taken during the speech of President Joe Biden, and the third, where the Ukrainian president is sitting in the hall among the listeners, was during the introductory words of the U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres. Channel One's 35-second video showed the first, second and third video frames.

The international communications manager of the 1+1 television channel, Oleksandr Ishchuk, responded to Lead Stories by email on February 8, 2024, regarding the 26-second video:

All interested parties can ensure that the information and the video are fake on the YouTube channels broadcasting the marathon where you can see that there wasn't such video. The President's full speech was posted only on YouTube. On the 1+1 Marathon channel, there was a small part of his speech as part of the news story. You can find it here at TC: 26:00. And you will also hear the difference between translators. So, the authors of the fake video used fragments from the video with a full speech on YouTube and from the live broadcast of the 1+1 Marathon channel with a news story about Zelenskyy at the UN General Assembly meeting.

This fake video was edited to look like another Zelenskyy was listening to himself in the audience during his speech. The fake video used a fragment of the President's speech in Ukrainian from a video posted on TSN's YouTube channel. Still, the video contains no other footage from the hall except for the President's speech at the podium. Please note that the original video does not have the graphic marking 1+1 Marathon, which its authors added to the fake video.

Another confirmation of the fake is the discrepancy in visual labeling. The marathon's channels use additional graphic elements, such as a geo-title, a plate, and roller titles, which are absent in the fake video.

Lastly, a search for the phrase "Ukrainian TV channel 1+1 showed a misleading video with Volodymyr Zelenskyy" (archived here) was conducted on February 12, 2024, using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites, and did not reveal any evidence-based reports on the claim.

  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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