Video of Putin, President of South Sudan has been edited

The claim: Video shows South Sudan’s president apologizing to Putin after threat

A social media user has posted a video which he says shows the President of South Sudan apologizing to Russian President Vladimir Putin after Putin threatened the country.

“President Kiir Mayardit apologizes to Putin for Bahalf (sic) of South Sudan,” read the caption of a March 1 Facebook post featuring the video.

The video first shows Putin sitting at a desk and speaking in Russian.

The captions quote him as saying, “I heard that South Sudan wants to support Ukraine. You have 24 hours to apologize. If not, God knows.”

This clip is followed by images of President Salva Kiir speaking in English.

“Not because I started it, but being the leader of the country, I have to apologize,” he said.

The video has been viewed nearly 370,000 times in just over two weeks.

However, the video does not actually show an exchange between the two men. The subtitles are fake, and Kiir’s clip is taken out of context, as AFP reports.

USA TODAY has reached out to the Facebook user who shared the post for comment.

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Video does not show Kiir apologizing to Putin, stitched footage with inaccurate captions

The clip of Putin in the video is an excerpt from a Feb. 24 broadcast in which he describes his reasoning for a military operation in Ukraine.

Instead of threatening South Sudan, the Facebook clip begins with Putin mid-sentence saying, “by the kyiv regime for eight years. For this, we will strive to demilitarize and denazify Ukraine and bring to justice those who committed multiple bloody crimes,” according to a translation of the Telegraph.

Similar translations of the passage can also be found in the full transcripts of the February 24 speech published by several news outlets.

Neither the Telegraph translation nor the full transcripts mention South Sudan.

The clip of Kiir apologizing is from a 2016 interview with Al Jazeera in which he discusses the internal political situation in South Sudan.

He does not mention Russia.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, USA TODAY has debunked several inaccurate or misleading videos claiming to show Putin’s international connections. For example, one video falsely claimed to show Putin meeting the South Korean president, and another falsely claimed to show him threatening Kenya.

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Our opinion: Modified

Based on our research, we are rating ALTERED the claim that a video shows the President of South Sudan apologizing to Putin after a threat. Inaccurate captions distort Putin’s words, and the clip of Kiir apologizing is from a 2016 interview about the political situation in South Sudan.

Our fact-checking sources:

  • AFP, March 4, Fake captions added to Putin’s declaration of war on Ukraine video to suggest African states are next
  • The New York Times, February 24, Putin’s Case for War, annotated
  • USA TODAY, March 10, Fact Check: Video shows 2019 meeting between Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un
  • USA TODAY, Accessed March 16, Ukraine Invasion Live Updates
  • Al Jazeera, July 11, 2016, South Sudan: Al Jazeera meets Salva Kiir and Riek Machar
  • YouTube, February 23, Putin declares military offensive in Ukraine as invasion begins
  • Bloomberg, February 24, Transcript: Vladimir Putin’s TV speech on Ukraine
  • Barron’s, February 24, full speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin
  • USA TODAY, March 16, fact check: Video shows Putin justifying military operation in Ukraine, not threatening Kenya

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