A viral claim suggesting that United States General Eric Olson was captured by Russian troops at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol is found to be untrue. The claim also suggested that apart from the U. General the Russian forces also captured a British officer.
According to a post made on Joint Chiefs of Staff website, Admiral Eric T. Olson, of U.S. Special Operations Commander, retired from the United States military in 2011.
Russian Forces Capture Four NATO Military Instructors
The rumor surrounding Olson's capture started after a tweet by user Ukraine News. "US Admiral Eric Olson (Highly decorated special ops commander) born in #Tacoma , Wa USA captured in #Azovstal #Mariupol #BREAKING."
Another tweet from the same user read, "Unconfirmed : SURRENDERED: in #Azovstal US General Eric Olson British Lieutenant Colonel John Bailey and 4 #NATO military instructors. There is news of Canadian French Turkish officers still hiding inside tunnels #SnakeIsland #Mariupol #Donbass #Ukraine @WIONews #Kiev @foxnews."
The post carried photographs of some soldiers, with their heads bowed and hands crossed, being led away by a Russian soldier with the symbol 'Z' written on the bullet proof vest.
"Russia caught retired General US Admiral Eric Olson in Ukraine US involved in Ukraine War with high ranking military officer & Stinger + Javelin Missiles +US encourage Ukraine President Comedian Zelensky to continue fighting to the detriment of Ukraine," wrote another user.
"IMPORTANT CLAIM Admiral Eric Olson, a former US Special Forces commander, is allegedly captured by the Russians at the #Azovstal steel mill in Ukraine," read the translation of another tweet.
Here is the Truth
Debunking the claim, Lead Stories reported that it was not true. Claiming that the image being used to fuel the baseless claim dates back to April 14, 2022, the outlet said it was taken weeks before the and the surrender of Ukrainian soldiers to Russian military.
"Using a reverse image search, the top photograph used in the post was found on the Russian state-controlled media site Sputnik Images. The event date of the image is shown as "14.04.2022" and the import date is shown as "14.04.2022," which is April 14, 2022. This screengrab shows the photo as it appears on Sputnik Images with the caption, "Ukrainian prisoners of war attend an event in memory of those killed in Luhansk People's Republic as a result of shelling in 2014, in Luhansk, LPR," stated the outlet.
Another report published on Russian news site Ria.ru carried the same image with a caption, "Ukrainian prisoners were also brought to the event - fighters of the National Guard," as per the Google translation.