A viral claim suggesting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has dropped letters 'Z' and 'V' after they were used as symbols by the invading Russian army, is found to be fake. As per the claim, the Ukrainian president's name now stands to be "Ladimir Elensky.
It has been over two months Russia launched a 'special military operation' against Ukraine, killing thousands of civilians in the war-torn country.
What do Symbols Z and V Represent?
As images of invading Russian military vehicles appeared, what caught everyone's eyes with letters 'Z' and 'V' painted on certain armored vehicles.
The letters have become Russia's symbol of war against Ukraine causing much uproar. Recently a Russian gymnast was seen displaying the letter Z on his chest during the medal ceremony.
In February, Rob Lee, analyst of Russian defense policy tweeted, "It appears Russian forces near the border are painting markers, in this case "Z", on vehicles to identify different task forces or echelons. Several Msta-S howitzers, R-149MA1 command-staff vehicles, TOS-1A thermobaric MLRS, MT-LB, and BMP-2 in Belgorod."
According to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, Z stands for Eastern Military district, while V stands for Naval infantry.
The recent claim surrounding the letters was fuelled after an image showing a TIME magazine cover claiming that Zelensky has dropped the controversial letters from name appeared on social media.
The viral image shows magazine's cover page for April 2022 edition featuring the Ukrainian president. "Ladimir Elensky refused to use letters "Z" and "V" in his name and surname. As a token of support our office publishes this news piece without the letters "Z" and "V"," reads the text on the page.
Here is the Truth
Debunking the claim being made through the viral image, Reuters reported that it was digitally altered. Claiming that the 'image is not viewable in the TIME magazine front page archive for 2022 editions' the outlet quoted a TIME spokesperson, "This image is not an authentic TIME cover."
Despite the image being fake, it caught social media's fancy with many retweeting it. "If stupid were an olympic discipline, we'd have an undisputed gold medallist: Ladimir Elensky," tweeted a user.
"Just heard that ladimir elensky has banned the letters 'V' & 'Z'. Not sure how that's supposed to change the anything, but whatever... #UkraineRussiaWar #elensky," wrote another.