Video does not show French farmers spraying Ukraine embassy with manure

By: John Faerseth
February 15 2024

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Video does not show French farmers spraying Ukraine embassy with manure

Source: Facebook/Screenshot


The Verdict False

The video was originally published in December 2023, and shows farmers protesting in Dijon. The letter shown was not written by the Ukrainian embassy.

Claim ID 1c44b26a

A video uploaded to Facebook on February 10, 2024, shows a tractor spraying manure on a building, with a caption claiming it shows French farmers spraying the Ukrainian Embassy in Paris with manure.

The video shows the logo of the TV network Euronews and carries the text "Ukrainian Embassy's call to end protests enraged French farmers." It shows what is purportedly a letter signed by the Ukrainian ambassador to France, calling on French farmers to stop their ongoing protests, stating that "The people of Ukraine regret that French farmers, facing their first economic difficulties, have turned against the French government and the people of Ukraine."

It also calls on French farmers to follow the example of the Ukrainians and "unite for the sake of their homeland." 

The video then quotes the leader of the French National Federation of Agricultural Holders' Union, Arnaud Rousseau, who says, "I would recommend the Embassy of Ukraine to take care of Ukraine. I would not advise anything to people at whose expense I have been living for two years. Ukraine has no right to ask or demand anything from the French." 

X users have also shared the video, as well as the nationalist and pro-Kremlin Russian TV network Tsargrad on the Vkontakte social network.

However, the building shown in the footage is not the Ukrainian embassy in Paris. 

In fact 

A reverse image search of screenshots from the viral video helped us trace the footage to a Sky News Australia report. The building in the viral footage is identical to footage from the Australian news site, published in December 2023. It shows French farmers spraying manure on the regional council building in Dijon as part of a protest. Both the Euronews logo and the text appear to have been added later.

Left image shows Sky News Australia footage; right image shows the Facebook video. (Source: Sky News Australia/ Facebook. Composite by Logically Facts)

The Ukrainian embassy in Paris has confirmed to Logically Facts that the video is fake and that the letter was never prepared or sent by the Embassy of Ukraine in France, adding that there have been similar cases of distribution of fake letters "on behalf of Ukrainian diplomatic missions" in different countries recently. 

"The channels and methods of spreading these disinformation campaigns through Russian Telegram channels allow us to guess about the origin and goals of these anti-Ukrainian 'attacks,'" the embassy told Logically Facts.

The letter shown in the video, which is said to have provoked the protest outside the embassy, was allegedly sent by the embassy to French farmers on February 7. However, according to the Italian fact checker Open, the alleged signature of Vadym Omelchenko, the Ukrainian ambassador to France, does not match the signature of a letter sent by Omelchenko to the mayor of Neuilly.

Open has not been able to confirm the existence of such a letter despite extensive research. Nor have they found any official statements from the embassy referring to ‌farmers' protests in France in the media or on social media accounts. Furthermore, Logically Facts found no references to either the letter or subsequent protests in Arnaud Rousseau's social media accounts.

The video was published on several Russian-language Telegram channels on February 8. While we have not established who made the video, the website EUvsDisinfo wrote on February 1 that the farmers' protests have become a major topic in Russian disinformation in an attempt to exacerbate perceived divisions between the people and the so-called "Brussels elites." Russian propagandists and diplomatic representations have also accused the European Commission of working together with Ukraine to flood the EU market with cheap goods to mitigate the allegedly self-inflicted damage of EU sanctions against Russia.

Angry farmers have protested in several European countries since December 2023. In France, protests have been connected to the loss of income and stricter environmental standards in France and throughout the EU, requiring French farmers to invest in new production methods while consumers search for cheaper products due to global inflation following the COVID-19 pandemic. 

At the same time, competition from outside the EU forces French farmers to sell their products for little profit. In January, the EU stated their intention to allow tariff-free imports of Ukrainian agricultural products until 2025 while at the same time negotiating a trade agreement with the South American bloc Mercosur, which many French view as opening the gates for unfair competition. 

The verdict 

The clip is from a farmers' protest outside the regional council in Dijon in December 2023. The signature on the letter does not match the signature of the Ukrainian ambassador on another official letter, and there is no confirmation that the letter has ever existed. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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