Video showing donation billboard in Milan featuring Zelenskyy 'snorting' money is fake

By: Ishita Goel
April 19 2023

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Video showing donation billboard in Milan featuring Zelenskyy 'snorting' money is fake


The Verdict False

Milan authorities confirmed the video showing a donation signboard with Zelenskyy's photo is fake and that no such structure exists.

Claim ID 7bf15fdd


A video circulating on social media purportedly shows a billboard with a donation box highlighted with "Donation for Ukraine" installed in Milan, Italy. The billboard has Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's photo and depicts an opening near his nostrils, alleging donations are being collected in this manner for Ukraine, amid the war with Russia. Several social media users shared this video. While some called it "weird" and poked fun at it, some also used it to claim that Zelenskyy snorts money and insinuated that he misuses the aid that people send the country to buy drugs.

In Fact

The video includes blurred footage and low-quality graphics. A reverse image search shows that the video shows the alleged donations signboard is situated right in front of the Duomo di Milano (the Milan cathedral) in the Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square), the main piazza (city square) of Milan, Italy. The area comes under the Comune di Milano (Municipality of Milan) located in Piazza della Scala, Italy. 

We contacted the Municipality of Milan regarding this billboard. The Press Office told Logically Facts that this is a fake video. There is no such a structure in Piazza Duomo, Milan, nor any other similar structure would ever be allowed in our most central square as “Milan is committed to supporting Ukraine and its President," they further said.

Logically Facts also contacted journalist David Puente, the deputy director of Fact-Checking at Open, who carried out on-ground verification for this claim. Puente explained to us that it is impossible to install any device like an aspirator on the billboard as there is a "metal plate where the posters of the municipality of Milan are hung. It cannot be moved, it is fixed." In addition, Puenta spoke to Milan cathedral guards and asked if they had noticed any such billboard featuring Zelenskyy and was told they had not. He also pointed out the area is secured with cameras, and if anybody had installed anything like this, "the activists would have been stopped by the police, especially for anti-terrorism issues.'

Further, we noted that the claim arises from this one viral video circulating on social media. As Puente also pointed out, Piazza del Duomo is a crowded place where people move around daily. However, no one has posted any other images or videos showing this. 

All the evidence points towards the fact that the video is fake, and no such billboard has been installed in Milan. 

The Verdict

The Municipality of Milan has explicitly called out this video as fake and added that it doesn't allow any such posting in the spaces of the municipal administration. Further, on-ground verification shows that the billboard purportedly showing Zelenskyy does not and has not ever existed. Therefore, we mark the claim false. 

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Global Fact-Checks Completed

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