Against the backdrop of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a video of a man entering a plane is making the rounds on social media. Seated inside are several other male and female passengers. Though the footage does not show the face of this individual, it has been claimed that this is Vladimir Putin. Users suggest that he personally went to meet Indian students who were being evacuated aboard an Air India aircraft. Social media users see this is a mark of respect for India, and are praising Prime Minister Modi. The two-minute-long clip was posted on Facebook with this claim. (Archive link)

 

Russian President Putin himself directly went on aircraft of (AI) AIR INDIA to convince Indians.

🇮🇳🇮🇳What a Respect for India.

🇮🇳🇮🇳Be proud of to be an Indian.

👏👌🙏🇮🇳👍

#PMModiji Great Ji 🚩🚩🙏🙏

Posted by Durai Raj K on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Several other Facebook users also shared the visuals and accompanying claim. (Archive link)

 

Rushian President
Putin himself went
on aircraft of Air India
to convince Indians.
What a Respect
for India.
Be proud of to
be an Indian.
👏👏👌🙏🇮🇳👍

Posted by Srinivasan Krishnamoorthy on Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Alt News also received numerous requests to verify the footage on our WhatsApp helpline number (+91 76000 11160).

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Fact-check

Taking a closer look at the video, we can confirm that the man is not President Vladimir Putin. At the 0:33 mark, the man identifies himself as Rahul Shrivastava, the Indian ambassador to Romania.

In a February 26 tweet carrying the video, ANI quoted Shrivastava who said that the Indian government was working day and night to evacuate Indians from Ukraine.

He also appears in the video speaking to the students via intercom. He says, “I know you have gone through a very long and arduous journey. Now that you’re on the last leg of your journey back home, your relatives, family and friends would be waiting with open arms to welcome you. When you’re back in our motherland, you should also remember that you have friends who are still here. When you talk to your friends waiting to be evacuated, you should assure them that the government of India team is working night and day to evacuate everyone.” Wishing the students a safe passage, he also asked them to remember this day, February 26, when faced with any difficult situations in the future.

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry tweeted another video of the diplomat on February 26, where he is seen sitting next to students and talking to them. His face can be clearly seen at the 0:17 mark, which confirms that he cannot be Putin.

Poulomi Saha of India Today also tweeted these videos on February 26.

It is worth noting that India’s Operation Ganga to evacuate Indians stranded in Ukraine is currently underway. Ambassador Rahul Shrivastava interacted with students who were being flown to safety aboard an evacuation flight. A video of this interaction was falsely circulated as visuals of Russian president Vladimir Putin meeting with Indian students.

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About the Author

Kinjal Parmar holds a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology. However, her keen interest in journalism, drove her to pursue journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication. At Alt News since 2019, she focuses on authentication of information which includes visual verification, media misreports, examining mis/disinformation across social media. She is the lead video producer at Alt News and manages social media accounts for the organization.