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)
Putin himself went
on aircraft of Air India
to convince Indians.
What a Respect
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).
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.
#WATCH | “…Entire GoI is working day & night to evacuate everyone and our mission is not complete till we have evacuated the last person. Remember this day 26th Feb in your life…,” Rahul Shrivastava, Indian Ambassador in Romania to the evacuated Indians from #Ukraine pic.twitter.com/Ro4pBGrB76
— ANI (@ANI) February 26, 2022
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.
— Poulomi Saha (@PoulomiMSaha) February 26, 2022
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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