On September 30 2022, a post to Reddit’s r/ukraine purportedly showed photographs of the New York City Russian consulate after it was vandalized and splattered with red paint:
Titled “Russian consulate in New York City this morning,” the post consisted solely of a photograph. No links to any news about the depicted incident were included.
A reverse image search returned zero results on TinEye, and a handful of results on Google. Most iterations led to iterations on Reddit, including a slightly earlier (by two hours) post to r/nyc:
Both posts featured the same image, and the first submitter did not comment about nor explain the origin of the image. An initial search for corroborating information led to a September 30 2022 Patch.com item from the Upper East Side section of the site, reporting:
The Consulate General of Russia building on the Upper East Side was covered in red spray paint early Friday [September 30 2022], hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin sparked global outrage by illegally annexing four regions of Ukraine.
The vandalism, documented in numerous social media posts, covered the entire lower portion of the facade of the consulate building at 9 East 91st St., near the corner of Fifth Avenue.
Police discovered the vandalism around 1:30 a.m. [on September 30 2022] after someone called 911 to report it, an NYPD spokesperson told Patch.
The sham referendums held on Sept. 23-27 sparked global outrage, with the EU denouncing their “falsified outcome.” Russia controlled the count, and residents in Ukraine’s east and south were forced to vote at gunpoint.
Ukraine urged the world to “immediately” put more pressure on Russia and “significantly” increase military support to Ukraine, as Moscow’s proxy leaders made an appeal to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.
Later in the day, the U.S. announced an additional $1.1 billion worth of arms package to Ukraine, which would include 18 more High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS). The advanced rocket systems have been a game changer in the war, allowing Ukraine to hit targets deep behind the front lines.
A few hours after the Reddit posts, the New York Times published “In New York, Russian Consulate Is Vandalized With Red Paint,” adding:
Marina Kovalenko, 57, a personal trainer who lives nearby, saw photos of the paint on social media and hurried over to catch a glimpse. To her, it was a work of art, and she commended the vandals and offered to bail them out if they were caught.
There have been no arrests, and the episode was deemed a possible bias incident, the police said … The Russian consulate referred questions about the incident to the U.S. State Department, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A sign on the consulate’s door said all appointments were canceled for the day [of September 30 2022].
On September 30 2022, a photograph of vandalism at the NYC Russian consulate was shared to both r/nyc and r/ukraine, without any additional information about the origin of the images. Later in the day, Patch.com and the New York Times reported an act of vandalism at the consulate in the early hours of September 30 2022. Images published by the Times were similar to the ones initially shared to Reddit.