As tension grew between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022, a widely shared image showing Ukrainians kneeling and praying in the snow circulated online. The photo, however, dates back to at least 2019.
“Ukrainian Christians are praying outside, in the snow, for their country in this phase of war danger,” reads a Facebook post dated February 18, 2022 that features the image. The iteration had been shared over 13,960 times at the time of writing this article (here).
The photo, which shows pairs of people kneeling facing each other, has been circulating online since at least September 2019 and appears to depict a prayer in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv (Kharkov).
A reverse image search led to an article attributing the image to “IMB” (here).
The International Mission Board (IMB) is a Baptist missionary society (www.imb.org/about/). They published an article on their website containing the photo on September 25, 2019 titled “Standing on our knees” (here).
According to the article, the photo depicts a prayer group in the city square of Kharkiv which began to meet in 2014, following a military action by the separatists (here).
Reuters geotagged the image in the town square. The building, which is the House of State Industry or “Derzhprom” (here), (here) visible on Google Street View (bit.ly/3sa3XX8) corresponds to the structure visible in the photo.
One of Europe’s worst security crises in decades is unfolding as Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine to “keep the peace”. Washington called “nonsense” this justification for deploying troops to the Donetsk and Luhansk regions after Moscow recognized them as independent (here).
Find the latest Reuters coverage of the developing story (www.Reuters.com/places/ukraine).
Wrong caption. This image was not captured amid heightened tension between Russia and Ukraine in February 2022. It was taken in the Ukrainian city of Kharkov and dates back to at least September 2019.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Learn more about our fact-checking work here.