A recent Facebook post falsely claims that CNN footage from the war in Ukraine was faked, citing a firefighter’s jacket bearing the name of a Canadian city. But the footage was shot in Ukraine. The jacket was donated by a Canadian organization.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, there has been a constant stream of misinformation surrounding the conflict, as we’ve written. Some social media posts have misinterpreted images from the war, including photos of victims of a hospital bombing in Mariupol.
A Facebook post from March 28 is another instance of a war image leading to a false claim about the fighting and the media coverage.
The post shows a screenshot from a March 26 CNN report of explosions near the Ukrainian city of Lviv. In the post, the image has been edited to add a red circle around a firefighter in the background whose jacket bears the name “Edmonton,” the capital of the Canadian province of Alberta.
“Obviously fake footage about the Ukrainian ‘war’ that is flooding Western TV screens,” reads the caption on the post. “In the latest example, CNN is reporting a fire in Edmonton, Canada is in Ukraine.”
But the CNN footage isn’t staged or fake. Instead, it shows a Ukrainian firefighter wearing donated Canadian gear in the aftermath of an explosion near Lviv.
The Edmonton jacket was donated by Firefighter Aid Ukraine, a Canadian organization that gathers “unneeded/unwanted firefighter bunker/turnout gear, personal protective equipment (PPE), life rescue equipment, and medical supplies from fire departments and vendors in Canada” and sends it to Ukraine, according to its website. The organization has been assisting Ukrainian firefighters with training and equipment for nearly eight years.
Firefighter Aid Ukraine posted about the CNN footage, confirming that it showed donated gear being used in Ukraine. “Thanks to Stu Abercrombie for catching this shot of Ukrainian firefighters near Lviv wearing gear donated by Edmonton firefighters,” the March 26 post reads.
Kevin Royle, CEO of Firefighter Aid Ukraine, confirmed in an email to FactCheck.org that the footage shows donated jackets being used in Ukraine. “I would be willing to bet that the gear came from our program,” he said, explaining that the city of Edmonton has been a longtime supporter of Firefighter Aid Ukraine.
In March, Firefighter Aid Ukraine sent an aircraft with more than 14 tons of equipment to Ukraine, Royle told us. The city of Lviv, where the CNN footage was taken, received some of that equipment, he said.
Firefighter Aid Ukraine is one of many organizations that have been offering support to Ukraine during this conflict. International groups such as Save the Children and the U.N. World Food Programme have rushed to aid Ukraine, as nearby nations accept refugees and governments pledge funding.
Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to debunk misinformation shared on social media. Our previous stories can be found here. Facebook has no control over our editorial content.
“FactChecking Claims About the Conflict in Ukraine.” FactCheck.org. Updated 25 Mar 2022.
Macaluso, Nora. “Social Media Posts Misrepresent Victims of Hospital Bombed in Mariupol.” 16 Mar 2022.
CNN. “CNN at Site of Explosions Near Lviv.” Twitter. 26 Mar 2022.
Firefighter Aid Ukraine. Board of Directors. Accessed 30 Mar 2022.
Royle, Kevin. CEO, Firefighter Aid Ukraine. Email to FactCheck.org. 30 Mar 2022.
Jeong, Andrew. “What People Are Donating to Ukraine and Its Refugees: Crypto, Ammo, Pet Food, Cash.” Washington Post. 3 Mar 2022.
Save The Children. “Ukraine Crisis.” Accessed 30 Mar 2022.
World Food Programme. “Ukraine Emergency.” Accessed 30 Mar 2022.
BBC. “How Many Ukrainians Have Fled Their Homes and Where Have They Gone?” 30 Mar 2022.
Pallaro, Bianca and Alicia Parlapiano. “Visualizing the $13.6 Billion in U.S. Spending on Ukraine.” New York Times. 18 Mar 2022.
De La Baume, Maïa and Jacopo Barigazzi. “EU Agrees to Give €500M in Arms, Aid to Ukrainian Military in ‘Watershed’ Move.” 27 Feb 2022.