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Russia's False 'Proof' of Ukrainian Troops' ISIS Link

A Ukrainian commander of a unit aka Kurt (right) speaks to his comrades at the frontline in Ukraine, Feb. 13, 2023. (AP/Evgeniy Maloletka)
Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Indian news outlet

"Shocking evidence of ISIS involvement in the Ukrainian armed forces has emerged."


On February 13, the Associated Press published a series of photographs featuring a Ukrainian military unit on the front lines. One of the photographs showed a man wearing a uniform with multiple military patches visible on his sleeves and vest.

AP identified him as a "Ukrainian commander of unit aka Kurt." In one of the photographs, the name "Kurt" is seen on the man's helmet.

One of the patches on the Ukrainian commander's uniform caught the attention of Russia's RT state news agency.

RT noted that Kurt had a patch on his left sleeve resembling the logo of the terrorist group ISIS, which RT said suggested ties between the Ukrainian military and ISIS.

Jackson Hinkle, a popular American YouTuber and social media influencer who openly supports Russia's war in Ukraine, tweeted the photo to his 125,000 followers, saying the AP photo showed a Ukrainian commander with an ISIS patch. Hinkle's tweet went viral, with 10,000 retweets and likes.

On February 16, Iran’s Tasnim News state news agency published a similar story claiming the Ukrainian commander’s photograph suggested ties between the Ukrainian military and ISIS.

India’s Hindustan Times went even further, with a headline formulated as a rhetorical question: “Putin's ISIS claim about Ukraine war real? Kyiv's commander with Islamic State insignia spotted.”

“Shocking evidence of ISIS involvement in the Ukrainian armed forces has emerged,” the outlet reported.

The Hindustan Times conclusion is false, and the reports by other outlets are highly misleading. found and interviewed the Ukrainian commander from the AP photographs. Kurt explained that he has nothing to do with ISIS, but collects patches and wears them as trophies. The ISIS patch is a trophy he took from the body of a mercenary from Russia’s Wagner private military company, the commander said.

During a video-recorded interview, Kurt confirmed his identity and showed his helmet and the patches on his uniform as they appeared in the AP photographs. He said that he is collecting military patches - as do many of his colleagues, who, like him, have been on the front lines since 2014, when Russia moved its troops, disguised as local partisans, into eastern Ukraine.

“The Ukrainian army has absolutely nothing to do with ISIS or any other terrorist group, we are defending our home from the real terrorist, Russia, for nine years now,” Kurt said.

The interview can be watched in the video below.

Russia's False 'Proof' of Ukrainian Troops' IS Link 
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The Hindustan Times’ mention of “Putin’s ISIS claim” is a reference to Russia’s unsubstantiated claims that the United States has sent trained ISIS terrorists to join Ukrainian military.

While the claim about terrorist ties has been a recurring topic of Russia’s anti-Ukraine disinformation for years, Moscow never presented any evidence of such ties.

The “patch photograph,” despite being amplified by the Russian and international press, as well as social media influencers, once again proves nothing other than Russia’s eagerness to smear Ukraine’s armed forces.