The video evidence of the incident, allegedly published in an American media outlet, is a poorly made forgery, full of errors.
After Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s visit to the USA in September 2023, some Russian media and social networks users wrote about an incident that happened in New York and involved the Ukrainian President’s security service employee.
“A member of the Ukrainian delegation, who accompanied Zelenskyi to the UN General Assembly, participated in the scandal in New York, reports the American media source USA Today,” the Donbass Today correspondent reports. The incident allegedly took place on September 21 at The Campbell Bar near the UN building, wrote the propaganda publication Donbass Today, based in Donetsk. “The fight, however, did not end in the bodyguard’s favor – he was seriously injured,” adds Russian propagandist Ilya Kiva.
A video with the logo of the American news source USA Today serves as a proof of the incident. The low-quality video shows footage of the Ukrainian delegation’s visit to the US, as well as a video of a group of men fighting on the street near the building. It is visually impossible to identify people in the frame. The English text accompanying this series of videos describes the alleged circumstances and chronology of the fight.
However, in reality, the American news outlet USA Today did not report on such an incident. Neither the publication’s website nor its social media accounts contain the information or the circulating videos.
We analyzed the video sequence and compared it with the appearance of Campbell Bar. Significant differences are noticeable, such as the absence of huge trees, blocking road posts-bollards, different storeys of buildings in the background.
StopFake also asked native English speakers to analyze the text of the video clip. The experts’ conclusion is unequivocal: it was written by a person with a very mediocre English level. Most likely, it is a low-quality translation from Russian. There are stylistic and lexical errors in almost every sentence. The authors of the fake use articles inappropriately, sometimes capitalizing them for no reason. Here are just a few glaring examples that indicate that this video could not have been produced by an American media.
In the sentence “A member of Ukraine’s delegation has staged a drunken brawl in a bar in New York”, the word “staged” is used incorrectly. In this context, it means that the fight itself was staged, not real. It would be correct to write: “A member of Ukraine’s delegation got into a bar fight in New York.”
An American would never say: “The bar is close to the UN’s New York offices.” Instead, the native speaker would use: “The bar is near the UN’s headquarters”.
The next sentence is also constructed clumsily. In it, “demanded” should have been used instead of “required”. A native speaker would say it as follows: “A security officer attached to Volodymyr Zelensky’s delegation in the United States demanded bar patrons to shout “Glory to Ukraine!”
Updated: StopFake has reached out to the bar’s management for comment. In response to our inquiry, we were told that nothing of the kind had happened at the establishment. “This video is fake. This never happened at the Campbell bar,” Scott Gerber, an authorized representative of the management company, told us.
These facts indicate that the information about the incident is false, and the American news source has no relation to the circulating video.