2014 Photo of Independence Square in Kyiv shared as recent scene of war in Ukraine…

False International

The Independence Square Maidan Nezalezhnosti one the main squares in Kyiv, has a rich history and has been a symbol of significant political symbol in Ukraine. Independence Square in Kyiv has been the backdrop of many TV presenters over the past few days, bringing live updates from Ukraine.

A viral image comparison, showing scenes of how this Independence Square in Kyiv allegedly devastated by Russian attacks is doing rounds on social media. However, our investigation found the image to be from 2014. The image is not related to current situation in Ukraine. Let us understand the actual context of the image.

Social Media Posts

A Facebook user posted an image comparison claiming to be images taken a week apart (on the 20th and 27th February) at the Independence Square in Kyiv as seen below in which the later image showed scenes of destruction. 

Facebook | Archived 

Many others had shared the same photo combination which indicated that the symbolic Independence Square in Kyiv had been turned into rubble.

Fact Check

We did a Google reverse image search of the images of the Independence Square and found it was the aerial view of the Independence Square in central Kyiv damaged during a riot on February 19, 2014. The riots took place when anti-government protestors and police clashed with each other. Below is the original image as reported by Olga Yakimovich of the REUTERS.

The image was used in few international media reports as well in February 2014

Business Insider | BBC | The Guardian

Below is a video report by RT from February 2014 on the close-up view of the Independence Square warzone.

Below is a Tweet from February 2014, where a former WSJ journalist used the same photo used in viral posts in 2022, for a comparison of before and after images at the Independence square in Kyiv.

Tweet | Archived

We checked for latest news from the Ukrainian capital and Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko stated that even though the Russian forces approaching they have failed to capture the city and stated that “Kyiv continues to defend itself, there is no Russian contingent in the capital,” as reported below on 27th of February.

Trthaber | Archived

Live webcams feeds such as this also confirm that the Maidan Square (Independence Square) in Kyiv had not been fallen yet. 

Even though Kyiv has been on heightened alert as Russian forces continue to close in, and entered the Ukraine’s second largest city, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged residents not to believe in fake information about the surrender of the country’s army. BBC | NPR 

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Conclusion

Our investigation revealed that the image showing the scenes of devastation at Independence Square in Kyiv is actually 8 years old and taken during clashes between anti-government protesters and riot police on February 19, 2014. Even though Kyiv has been on heightened alert as Russian forces close in on all sides, Ukrainian President as well as Kyiv Mayor stated that Kyiv continues to defend itself.

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Title:2014 Photo of Independence Square in Kyiv shared as recent scene of war in Ukraine…

Fact Check By: Kalana Krishantha 

Result: False

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