Fact Check: Actress In This Photo Is NOT A Ukrainian Soldier Killed In Action

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  • Авторство: Lesia Pogorelo
Fact Check: Actress In This Photo Is NOT A Ukrainian Soldier Killed In Action False Info

Does this photo circulating on Russian TikTok accounts depict a Ukrainian soldier called Ivanka Kostyuk, with the call sign Ukropochka, killed in the Russia-Ukraine war? No, that's not true. The person in the picture is the well-known Ukrainian actress Daria Petrozhitskaya. The TikTok videos connect the alleged soldier with Volodimir Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, claiming that she's his mistress. Neither the identity of a soldier named Ivanka Kostyuk nor the purported relationship with the president of Ukraine is supported by any evidence and Petrozhitskaya has denied it.

This video (archived here) appeared in TikTok and was published by user @Ghost.al on April 3, 2023 under the title "Zelensky's mistress was liquidated."

It reads:

Meet Ivanka Kostyuk, a military serviceman of the Armed Forces of Ukraine with the call sign Ukropochka, a blogger and part-time lover of Zelenskyy. It was her who filmed TikTok videos about a Russian warship, and also sold dolls made from the elements of our guys' uniforms. What she had on her phone was exclusive material, it turned out that for a long time she was Zelenskyy's mistress.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

TikTok screenshot

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Sat Apr 15 16:00:56 2023 UTC)

The same claim is being circulated on social media, but a photo of a different girl is used each time. Examples can be seen here and here (archived here and here).

Russian media have been spreading unsubstantiated rumors about an alleged affair between Ms. Petrozhitskaya and Mr. Zelenskyy, a former actor, since 2020 (examples here and here). According to the Ukrainian website Znaj.ua, Ms. Petrozhitskaya recently posted an Instagram story ridiculing the claim. She reposted the false claim, attributing it to Russian propaganda and adding

I'm laughing out loud. In their news, I was already Zelenskyy's mistress, but never Ivanka. If you find this Tiktok, send it to me

  Lesia Pogorelo

Lesia Pogorelo is a freelance fact-checker and coordinator of one of the LeadStories projects. She has been working as a journalist since 2013. Her career began in Ukraine and now continues in Canada. She has experience working on regional television as a reporter, editor and news anchor. Covered events related to the Revolution of Dignity and the war in eastern Ukraine. She has her reportages on the Ukrainian TV channel "Inter", newspaper "Den`" and the Canadian news website "City News". 

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