The photo of the injured woman was not taken in 2018

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On February 26, 2022, the website of Alternative Television (ATV) published an article entitled:

Putin is portrayed as Hitler, and four-year-old photographs are released to the public

The article states that many fake videos and photos are misrepresented on social networks to show the conflict in Ukraine. An example is a photo of a woman whose head is covered in bandages. This photo was published by many world media after Russian forces launched an airstrike on the city of Chuguev. In the article, ATV claims that the photo was taken four years ago and that it shows a woman injured in a gas cylinder explosion. The article was shared by Alo (.ba)Prijedor24 and Crni bombarder.

The West claims that her injuries resulted from rocketing conducted by Russian forces, however, the truth is quite different.

The Facebook page “Srpska inicijativa” (“Serbian Initiative”) published the mentioned photo and presented proof that it was a fake photo that was allegedly published by a journalist Slobodan Georgiev on his Twitter account.

Along with the description, he wrote: “A photo of Putin’s war”, so he disgraced himself, but he also joined the ranks of those who support Western propaganda.

Namely, the photo dates back to 2018. It was taken in Kyiv but not affected by Russia’s military operation. The woman was injured after a gas cylinder explosion occurred in the apartment next to hers.

The post mentioned in the article refers to the tweet of TV Newsmax Adria director Slobodan Georgiev, who shared a photo of the injured woman on February 24 with the description “A photo of Putin’s war”. One of the users wrote in the comment section that it was “an explosion of a gas bottle from four years ago”, along with a screenshot of the message in which it is claimed in German that it is a matter of “false reporting using photos from 2018”. Georgiev’s tweet and the comment of the user “Sevastokrator” are no longer available, and the screenshot of this user’s comment, ATV published as the cover photo.

While the ATV’s article claims that the explosion from 2018, in which the woman in the photo was allegedly injured, took place in Kyiv, in some posts on Twitter (1) and on several Facebook profiles (12) no place is mentioned at all. BALTERNATIVA Deutschland states on Twitter that the explosion took place in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk.

What are the facts?

They state that the photo from 2018 was refuted by AFP in German, but also other fact-checking platforms around the world (MatildaFacta), and Istinomer and Raskrikavanje in our speaking area.

Russia launched an attack on Ukraine early in the morning of February 24. A residential complex was damaged in an airstrike in the town of Chuguev in the Kharkiv region. According to official Ukrainian sources, one person was killed.

The woman in the photo is Ukrainian Olena Kurilo. Wolfgang Schwan photographed her on February 24, 2022.

Searching through the site, the journalists of Raskrikavanje determined that this photo first appeared on the Internet on February 24 this year, in the text of the website Vice, which talks about Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The photo’s description states that it shows a woman injured after an airstrike on a residential complex in the town of Chuguev in the Kharkiv region. Below the photo, it is also stated that it was purchased through the Getty Images service and that Schwan made it for Anadolu Agency.

A close-up photo of the same woman was posted on the Instagram account of this photographer. The description states the same location and the fact that the photo was taken on Friday morning, on February 24.


A video was published on the YouTube channel of Anadolu Agency in which photographer Wolfgang Schwan describes the situation in this city after the airstrike, and how the photo was taken. He also states that she is a teacher. Photographer Alex Lourie also told the BBC how he met her. He states in the video that she was injured after a part of a mirror fell on her.

Later on, Olena Kurilo spoke to the media about everything she experienced. There are no more bandages around her head in the video, but injuries can be seen, and the video with the translation can be found on the YouTube channel of Vecernji list.

Footage taken on February 24 in Chuguev clearly shows that the building seen in the background of Olena Kurelo is located in that city.

The gas explosion in the city of Magnitogorsk happened on December 31, 2018, and several people were killed. Numerous world media have written about this, and it is possible to find a large number of photographs. At first glance, it is clear that there is no similarity between the building destroyed during the explosion and the one behind Kurilo.

Image: A building in the city of Chuguev destroyed in an airstrike on February 24 (Screenshot of a video posted on the YouTube channel)

Image: Building destroyed in 2018 in a gas explosion published on the website Newsweek (STR / AFP / GETTY IMAGES)

We rate the claim suggesting that the photo of the injured woman was taken in 2018, initially published by the Twitter user Sevastokrator, as fake news. Furthermore, we rate other sharing of this claim as the distribution of fake news.