The man in the photo is not a Ukrainian prisoner of war at all, but a Belarusian citizen. He was detained by the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption of Belarus in the summer of 2022 for his tattoos, not as a prisoner of war.

Social media users are spreading false information that a Ukrainian soldier with a tattoo of a Nazi coat was allegedly captured by Russia. As proof of this information, propaganda and social media users posted photos of a man with tattoos, adding the caption:  «A brave guy from western Ukraine was captured». 

After such information spread, StopFake decided to check whether the photo actually depicted a Ukrainian prisoner of war. As it turned out, the information spread online is fake.

While looking at the photos shared by the propaganda, StopFake saw the «сentr_ex»  watermark. Entering it into the Google search engine, we discovered that under this name there used to be a Telegram channel close to the Belarusian security forces. It constantly published news about the detention of people accused of spreading Nazi symbols in Belarus. It is currently unavailable, but Google provides a web archive of this channel with the image being posted. The description says that the person was detained by the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption in Belarus in the summer of 2022. There is no information that he may be a Ukrainian prisoner of war.

 «This fascist always dreamed of becoming a Hitler general, so he filled himself with all the Third Reich memorabilia. Of course, the Main Directorate for Combating Organized Crime and Corruption employees did not pass by such a fascist and clarified his ideological preferences»,  says the photo description.

The archived message also has a link to a video with this person. However, it leads to another deleted Telegram channel gggzxf. Despite this, in the same archive, the contours of the tattoos show that the video really existed. Thus we decided to find him.

In the online tool Tgstat, part of the publications from the Center E Telegram channel have been preserved, which are accompanied by links to other social networks of this channel. One of them is working and leads to the Russian social network VK. There we found a video with this man. In it, he apologizes for the tattoos and says that he is committed to getting them removed in the near future. Him being a prisoner of war is also not mentioned there.

When searching for the original images, StopFake also found information that a similar fake with this tattooed man was actively circulating in the Greek language as far back as 2022. This was written by fact-checkers from Ellinika Hoaxes. We also found messages from some users who mistakenly wrote that the photo depicted a Russian prisoner of war. Earlier, StopFake refuted the information that Ukrainian tank operators in Germany were allegedly asked not to draw the swastikas or throw Hitler’s salutes.