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Has the Ukrainian president been filmed dancing with a rocket launcher, while the war in Ukraine has been raging for more than nine months? This is claimed by many accounts on Twitter and Facebook. The sequence they are relying on is actually a parody video posted on Tiktok by a comedian impersonating the Ukrainian president.
Verification in a nutshell
- Since November 7, 2022, Twitter and Facebook accounts have shared a video which they say shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky dancing with a rocket launcher, as the war in Ukraine continues.
- Some posts in English have been shared over 6,000 times.
- It’s actually a video shared on TikTok by a comedian who looks like Volodymyr Zelensky and makes parody videos featuring him.
- The sequence was shot as part of a Russian comedy show broadcast on YouTube.
The details of the check
A man in military uniform dancing on stage with a missile launcher alongside another musician, all filmed by a cameraman and under color changing spotlights. This is shown in a video shared by many accounts since November 7, 2022. For them, there is no doubt that it is Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky who is seen in the footage.
“Let’s hear from Zelensky who is in the midst of a horrible battle for his life and that of all Ukrainians”, wrote in English, and ironically, this Twitter user in a publication of November 17, 2022 shared more than 6,000 times.
The video is used in particular to disapprove of the financial aid given by Western countries to Ukraine. “Meanwhile in Kyiv the guy in the green T-shirt has lost his mind. Can I have some more money please?” reads the caption. this Twitter post in English.
Other accounts take advantage of this sequence to present him as a “clown”, a figure to which he is often referred because of the career as a humorist he led before the war. “When you look like a clown and you show it that you are one… (sic)” can we read in this publication in French from November 7, 2022 shared nearly 300 times.
A parody video
However, if a poor quality video may suggest that the video shows the Ukrainian president, it is in fact a simple actor who is on the sequence. As explained by UK verification media Reuters or Italian Open.onlineone can find this same video on TikTokpublished on November 4, 2022 by the account @makskomikadze.
On this accountwhich has more than 50,000 subscribers, we can find several parody videos of the Ukrainian president, notably imitating some of his speeches.
The one who lets himself be called “Max KomikadZe” is also present on YouTube, where he presents himself as a “parodist, actor, presenter, speaker in the V&L Show”.
On this channel, we can find a video in which he appears with the same rocket launcher, in a setting similar to that of the sequence shared recently.
A video made “especially for the V&L Show”, as indicated on the Tube channel (the Russian equivalent of YouTube) from this comedy show, who also posted the video. Produced by Vladimir Kuznetsov (nicknamed Vovan) and Aleksey Stolyarov (Lexus)this Russian show broadcasts hoaxes (or “pranks” in English) and parodies.
The video is actually a clip of a parody song called Bayraktar (“Байрактар” in Ukrainian). Bayraktar TB2 is the name of a combat drone manufactured in Turkey, and used by the Ukrainian army in the context of the current war, as explained this article from L’Express.
In a first version of the clipthe singer and actor parodies the Ukrainian president as a sadomasochistic cocaine addict greedy for international money, following the usual Russian anti-Ukraine narratives.
In a second version, we see him with the famous dummy “rocket launcher”, still imitating President Zelensky.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, numerous manipulative publications have targeted the Ukrainian president. The editorial staff of France 24 Observers has already been able to verify some of them.
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