An air raid alert  signaling an enemy drone detected near Kyiv sounded, and the drone was subsequently shot down by Ukrainian air defense.

Kremlin publications and social media users are spreading false information alleging that Kyiv authorities issued a false air alert on March 20, in order to prevent Orthodox clergymen who are faithful to the Moscow Patriarchate  from meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A video showing police asking the clergymen to get down to safety, while an air raid alarm goes off in the background is used as evidence of the claim.

In reality, the information about Kyiv authorities sounding the air alarm on purpose to force the priests out of the President’s Office is not true. If one listens carefully to the video, one can hear the law enforcement officers asking the priests to return to the presidential building after the air raid is over. This shows that the police wanted to ensure the safety of those near the presidential building. Secondly, air raid sirens are sounded when there is a real danger for civilians, that is why the priests were asked to go to a bomb shelter. As the alarm sounded, Ukrainian air defense forces were working near Kyiv. According to the Kyiv Military Administration, a Russian drone was detected in the airspace north of Kyiv. It was successfully shot down, testifying to the authenticity of the air raid siren.

A similar narrative about a fake air alert was disseminated during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Kyiv.