Russian strikes in Kyiv didn’t destroy Zelenskyy’s office
CLAIM: Ukrainian media is reporting that President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s office was destroyed by a missile strike on Monday.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The building wasn’t destroyed and the claim wasn’t reported by mainstream Ukrainian news outlets. Associated Press reporting documented damage at a park and other locations in the city center, but the president’s office, about a mile away, was not hit. AP journalists on the ground confirmed the building wasn’t struck, and Zelesnkyy filmed a video address outside of the undamaged building after the attacks.
THE FACTS: Twitter accounts supporting Russia are sharing the baseless claim that Zelenskyy’s office was among the buildings destroyed by a barrage of missile strikes in Ukraine’s capital on Monday.
“ZELENSKY’S OFFICE WAS DESTROYED BY A MISSILE STRIKE: UKRAINIAN MEDIA,” wrote one Russian aligned account, receiving more than 2,000 shares and 6,500 likes.
The user reposted a video from a separate Twitter profile called UkraineNews, that gives updates on the war. Though identified as “Ukrainian media” by the Russian account, UkraineNews often makes posts critical of Ukraine and in support of Russia.
“Big Breaking Russian Missile Strikes Reported In Central #Kiev. Clouds Of Black Smoke Can Be Seen Rising From Buildings #Zelensky Office may have been hit (unconfirmed),” the account tweeted on Monday, sharing video of smoke rising over the skyline.
St. Volodymyr’s cathedral, which is about a mile away from the president’s office, can be seen near the cloud of smoke in the video.
But AP reporting and other images of the site shows the government building where Zelenskyy works was not hit, and it certainly was not destroyed.
AP journalists on the ground in Kyiv confirmed the building was not hit. And satellite images taken by Planet Labs Inc. and obtained by the AP capture an aerial view of the building on Monday that shows the structure still standing.
Statements from the Office of the President of Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday made no mention of any strikes to its building, instead specifying that “civilian infrastructure” was targeted.
Zelenskyy on Monday also filmed a video address outside of the Presidential Administration Building after the attacks. The video captured much of the building’s exterior and courtyard. No damage can be seen.
In Kyiv, blasts struck in the Shevchenko district, which includes the historic old town and government offices, both Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko and Zelenskyy said.
While some of the strikes hit near the government quarter, where parliament and other major landmarks are located, neither official gave any indication that those government buildings were hit.
AP images of the damage show a crater in the ground and debris strewn about a playground at Taras Shevchenko Park, near the city center, and additional damage near the neighboring university, Taras Shevchenko National University. Other photos show bloodied civilians, burned cars in streets and broken windows at a historic building in the area, which is about a mile from the Presidential Administration Building on Kyiv’s Bankova Street.
Andriy Yermak, head of the Presidential Office, confirmed in a statement on Monday that “residential buildings” were damaged.
“People rushing to work in the morning were killed simply on the sidewalks or in their cars,” he said in the statement, adding, “One of the rockets destroyed a children’s playground in the capital downtown.”
Outside of Kyiv, strikes in 12 other regions Monday caused power outages across more than 300 cities and killed at least 19 people, wounding 105 more. Russian forces showered Ukraine with more missiles and munition-carrying drones Tuesday.
Russia launched the widespread attacks in retaliation for a weekend explosion that damaged a bridge linking the country to the Crimean Peninsula, which Moscow annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Russian President Vladimir Putin alleged the Ukrainian special services masterminded the Saturday attack on the Kerch Bridge.
This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.