Image shows Beirut, not explosion at Ukraine security service headquarters

28 March 2024
What was claimed

An image shows the headquarters of the Ukraine security service (SBU) in Kyiv after being struck by Russian missiles.

Our verdict

False. The photo shows the collapse of part of the port silos in Beirut in 2022, after being damaged by a huge explosion in 2020.

A picture is being shared widely online with false claims it shows plumes of smoke emanating from the headquarters of Ukraine’s security service in Kyiv after a missile attack by Russia.

A Facebook post sharing an image claiming to be of the headquarters says: “Breaking news: What hit the security headquarters of the SBU in Kiev?! All the important officers were inside‼”

However, this is not what the photograph circulating on Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter), depicts.

The image is actually a screenshot from a video showing a section of the evacuated port silos in Beirut, Lebanon, collapsing in August 2022 after a fire broke out on the site in July. 

This followed a huge explosion in the port in August 2020, involving thousands of tonnes of stored ammonium nitrate, which killed over 200 people.

A reverse image search of the image being shared brings up widespread news coverage of the collapse at the Beirut port silos from 2022.

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SBU base was targeted

Ukrainian media has reported that two ballistic missiles were launched from Russian-occupied Crimea towards Kyiv, aimed at the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) offices in the capital on 25 March.

The Ukrainian Air Force has stated that both of the missiles directed at the SBU base were intercepted, and did not reach their target.

However, an image of a damaged building and emergency workers which in some instances is being shared alongside the Beirut image, does show the aftermath of the downed Russian missile attacks where debris fell in central Kyiv on 25 March.

We’ve written extensively about miscaptioned and faked images and videos falsely claiming to show events in or connected to Ukraine since the war began in 2022.

Misleading images and videos are some of the most common kinds of misinformation we see online, but they can sometimes be hard to spot. It’s always worth checking if social media images and videos show what the post says they do before you share them. You can find information on how to do this in our guides on spotting misleading images and videos.

Image courtesy of skhakirov

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