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‘Digital Billboards in Ukraine’

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Claim

"Digital billboard in Kyiv: 'Russia soldier, stop! Putin has lost. The whole world is with Ukraine. Leave without blood on your hands.'"

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On March 1 2022, a popular Imgur post titled “Digital billboard in Kyiv: ‘Russia soldier, stop! Putin has lost. The whole world is with Ukraine. Leave without blood on your hands'” purportedly showed messages on Ukraine billboards visible to invading Russian troops:

On Twitter, the above image was shared by Adam Parkhomenko at 10:39 AM on February 28 2022. A translation read, “Putin lost. The whole world is with Ukraine. Leave without blood on your hands”:

At 2:20 PM, journalist Ilya Lozovsky tweeted about “digital billboards reportedly in Kyiv,” including a second photograph with a slightly different message:

Lozovsky also included translations for both, which read:

“Russia soldier, stop! Putin has lost. The whole world is with Ukraine. Leave without blood on your hands.”

“Russian soldier, stop! Remember your family. Return home with a clean conscience.”

In the comments of Parkhomenko’s tweet, another user offered a “minor edit” to the translation:

Variations of the posts also appeared on Reddit’s r/ukraine and r/DamnThatsInteresting:

Digital billboard in Kyiv: “Russia soldier, stop! Putin has lost. The whole world is with Ukraine. Leave without blood on your hands.” from ukraine

Google Translate from English to Russian for the first image — “Russian soldier, stop! Putin lost and the whole world stands with Ukraine! Leave Ukraine without blood on your hands” — returned the following translation. It was very similar but not exact, with matching text bolded:

Русский солдат, стой!

Путин проиграл и весь мир на стороне Украины!

Оставьте Украину без крови на руках

Inputting “Russian soldier, stop! Remember your family. Return home with a clean conscience” returned the following text in Russian:

Русский солдат, стой!

Вспомни свою семью.

Вернуться домой с чистой совестью

Google Translate interpreted “крови на руках” as “blood on the hands.” Yandex’s image translation function provided partial translations for both signs:

russian soldier stop billboard world is with ukraine

ukraine billboard russian soldier stop

A February 28 2022 Yahoo News article described four billboards with similar messaging, translated from Russian to English:

“Russian soldiers are not welcome here. Instead of flowers, expect bullets. Go away to your family!”

“Russian soldier, stop. Putin lost. The whole world stands with Ukraine. Go away without blood on your hands.”

“Russian soldier, stop. Don’t kill your soul for Putin’s oligarchs. Go away without blood on your hands.”

“Russian soldier, stop. How will you be able to look your kids in the eyes? Go away! Stay human.”

That reporting cited Associated Press reporter Francesca Ebel, who shared video of the flashing signs in Kyiv:

In her tweet, Ebel tagged the novel Twitter account War in Translation/@WarTranslation for English versions of the billboards. The account obliged with a captioned video, which matched the translations used by Yahoo News, which didn’t provide a source for the translated messages:

Viral images of “digital billboards in Ukraine” with messages that the “whole world stands with Ukraine” and urging Russian soldiers to leave “without blood on your hands” circulated across several social media platforms. Associated Press reporter Francesca Ebel captured video of the signs in Kyiv, and tweeted them on February 28 2022. @WarTranslation captioned the video with translations from Russian to English, showing four distinct messages in total.

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