Christopher Miller+ Your Authors @ChristopherJM Correspondent covering Eastern Europe & more @BuzzFeedNews. Also seen @RFERL @POLITICOEurope @ViceNews @Guardian. Send tips to [email protected] Jun. 01, 2020 1 min read + Your Authors

US & Ukrainian media, careful here:

Bohdan Vechirko, arrested after driving a tanker truck through a crowd of protesters on the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis on Sunday may not be the Bogdan Vechirko who many on social media in both countries are claiming was a soldier in Ukraine.

Vechirko from the police mugshot and an old school yearbook don't resemble the Vechirko in Ukrainian military uniform.

Soldier Vechirko looks much younger, first of all, than 35-year-old arrested. Specifically, hairlines and other physical attributes are very different.

More digging shows Vechirko might not be the actual surname of the man in the Ukrainian uniform. That man appears to be Ukrainian Bogdan Lipko, according to photos from VK and OK accounts that match Vechirko FB account (now removed) being shared around.

Meaning, of course, that Lipko/Vechirko in the Facebook photos is not the trucker Bogdan Vechirko arrested in Minneapolis and pictured in the mugshots.

(h/t @AricToler for the VK find)

Nonetheless, without any evidence except photos from a Facebook page that don't actually resemble the Bogdan Vechirko arrested in US, Russian-language outlets Vinograd & @stranaua, which is known for publishing dubious articles that are often pro-Russian, have pushed the theory.

And here’s Ukraine’s General Staff of the Armed Forces saying that rumors of Bogdan Vechirko being a Ukrainian soldier are “manipulative and untrue.”

This has been debunked but Russia’s state-run @rianru news agency is still reporting the false story that trucker Vechirko preciously fought in the Ukrainian military. Link to tweet here but also a screen grab for posterity.


You can follow @ChristopherJM.



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