A viral claim suggesting that Ukraine's first female fighter pilot, Natasha Perakov, died during the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict is found to be fake. The claim also suggested that Perakov had sustained critical wounds in the ongoing fight.
Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a 'special military operation' on Ukraine to protect people "who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years."
Is Perakov Real?
There were several posts claiming the death of Perakov in the combat. The condolences message also carried images of a woman dressed in combat uniform. Despite there being no official confirmation from the Ukrainian authorities, social media platforms were flooded with the fake claim.
"Natasha Perakov, Ukraine's first female fighter pilot has died today, she was heavily wounded. There are also sad news that the "Ghost of Kiev" is missing in action. Glory and Eternal Memory to the Heroes!" read a post.
"Natasza Perakov is the first Ukrainian female fighter pilot who died defending her homeland. Natasha, you and the other heroes fighting in this war will never be forgotten," a tweeted when translated to English read.
"Natasha Perakov, the first woman pilot jacket in Ukraine, die after being seriously injured. she is a heroine Ukrainian, patriotic really with much honor and glory to all Ukrainian heroes. D.E.P," expressed a user.
Here is the Truth
Debunking the claim being made on the basis of the social media posts, Lead Stories reported that 'Natasha Perakov' has never existed or she was the first female fighter pilot of Ukraine.
The outlet claimed that the woman in one of the pictures, being circulated as that of Perakov, is of another Ukrainian service member. "The picture in the Facebook post is of Olesya Vorobey, a participant in a beauty contest in Starobilsk, Ukraine.The contest was held for women serving in the Ukrainian military and law enforcement," reported the article.
The outlet also posted the link on article published on Ukrainian military website in 2016. It stated that Vorobey was a participant in the anti-terrorist operation and a serviceman from the West Operational Command.
The woman wearing heavy make-up with military uniform in the other photograph, being circulated on the social media as that of Perakov, is actually a model. A twitter user pointed out that the image was taken from a website selling fake military outfits.