How Does the Kremlin Media Falsify the Identity of a Woman Accompanying Zelenskyy in a Hospital?

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Reading Time: 3 minutes


On March 13th, the Facebook page “INEWS,” which positions itself as a media platform, posted a video showing footage of Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s visit to the hospital to check on the wounded soldiers. The post mentions the woman accompanying Zelenskyy is Inna Derusova, who died on February 26th. Based on this “evidence,” INEWS claims that Zelenskyy’s video was staged and that he recorded it in February, before Drusova’s death.

The same information has been disseminated by the Russian propaganda media RT and the Russian-language media outlets, Based on Ilya Kyva, an opposition member of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, the identical information was spread on Facebook by Русский МИР and Radio Мензелинск FM 99.7.

The information disseminated by INEWS that the person accompanying Zelenskyy in the video is the deceased Inna Derusova, is false. In fact, the video features Brigadier General Tatyana Ostashenko, and the allegation that Zelensky falsified the video is a continuation of the disinformation campaign as if Zelenskyy had left Ukraine and was not in the country during the war.

On March 13th, Vladimir Zelenskyy posted a video showing him visiting wounded soldiers and awarding them with medals and orders for heroism and self-sacrifice.

As evidence that Zelensky recorded the video in advance, back in February, Inews points to the death of Inna Derusova, an employee of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, who indeed died on February 24th as a result of a bombardment by Russian artillery. She was awarded the title of Hero by President Zelenskyy, thus becoming the first woman to be awarded this title after death.

Photos of Inna Derusova

However, it should be noted that Inna Derusova is not the woman featured in the video. The woman accompanying Zelenskyy is Tatyana Ostashenko, the first female general in the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, by Order 427/2021 of 24 August 2021, conferred on her the rank of General of the Medical Service.

Photos of Tatyana Ostashenko

RT’s widespread disinformation was verified by the Ukrainian fact-checking portal Stopfake.

Russian-language sources often disseminate the information that Zelenskyy fled the country, and his videos are staged. However, there are numerous shots where Zelenskyy is either seen in the streets of Kyiv or gives interviews to foreign journalists from Kyiv.


Facebook page iNews was created on October 26th, 2015. The page does not contain any information in the “About Us” section; however, we learn from a post published in June 2017 that its “founder and general director” is Lasha Loladze. In 2018, CRRC Georgia added iNews to its list of 65 Facebook pages, which spread disinformation and anti-Western propaganda. In addition, iNews periodically publishes pro-Russian, pro-racist and anti-homophobic posts in support of the current government.

In 2019, iNews was spreading messages aimed at inciting feuds around the events caused by the confrontation between the local population and the government in the Pankisi Valley. iNews posted a video, the description of which claimed that the Pankisi people were shouting “Allah Akbar”. In other posts, one could find Facebook trolls commenting that the Kists worshipped the “other god” to manipulate the orthodox religious sentiments and distancing and alienating the Georgian citizens from the Kists. The report on this topic was published by “Myth Detector” on April 25th, 2019.

Myth Detector Lab

The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Politics
Violation: Disinformation
Country: Russia, Ukraine


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