The claim: Video shows South Sudan president apologizing to Putin after threat
A social media user posted a video they claim shows South Sudan’s president apologizing to Russian President Vladimir Putin after Putin threatened the country.
“President Kiir Mayardit Apologizes to Putin on Bahalf (sic) of South Sudan,” reads the caption of a March 1 Facebook post featuring the video.
The video first shows Putin seated at a desk and speaking in Russian.
Subtitles quote him as saying: “I heard South Sudan wants to backup Ukraine. You have 24hrs to apologize. Otherwise lord knows.”
This clip is followed by footage of President Salva Kiir speaking in English.
“Not because I was the one who started it, but being the leader of the country, I have to apologize,” he says.
The video was viewed nearly 370,000 times in a little more than two weeks.
However, the video does not actually show an exchange between the two men. The subtitles are wrong, and the clip of Kiir is included out of context, as reported by AFP.
The Facebook user who posted the video, Insight Juba, told USA TODAY the post was a joke. The post does not state the video is satirical, fake or meant as a joke, however.
“We thought it would be funny to our targeted audiences who are dominantly South Sudanese,” the user said. “The subtitles are not real and the clips were mixed.”
Follow us on Facebook! Like our page to get updates throughout the day on our latest debunks
Video does not show Kiir apologizing to Putin, footage spliced with inaccurate subtitles
The Putin clip in the video is an excerpt from a Feb. 24 broadcast in which he describes his reasoning for a military operation in Ukraine.
As opposed to threatening South Sudan, the Facebook clip begins with Putin mid-sentence saying: “by the Kyiv regime for eight years. For that, we will strive for de-militarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine and will bring to justice those who committed multiple bloody crimes,” according to a translation by The Telegraph.
Neither The Telegraph translation nor the full transcripts mention South Sudan.
The clip of Kiir apologizing is taken from a 2016 interview with Al Jazeera in which he discusses South Sudan’s internal political situation.
He does not mention Russia.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, USA TODAY has debunked multiple inaccurate or misleading videos claiming to show Putin’s international dealings. For instance, one video falsely claimed to show Putin meeting with the South Korean presidentand another falsely claimed to show him threaten Kenya.
Our rating: Altered
Based on our research, we rate ALTERED the claim that a video shows the South Sudan president apologizing to Putin after a threat. Inaccurate subtitles misrepresent Putin’s words, and the clip of Kiir apologizing is from a 2016 interview about the political situation in South Sudan.
Our fact-check sources:
- AFP, March 4, False subtitles added to Putin’s Ukraine war declaration video to suggest African states are next
- The New York Times, Feb. 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
- Aljazeera, July 11, 2016, S Sudan: Al Jazeera meets Salva Kiir and Riek Machar
- YouTube, Feb. 23, Putin declares military offensive in Ukraine as invasion starts
- Bloomberg, Feb. 24, Transcript: Vladimir Putin’s Televised Address on Ukraine
- Barron’s, Feb. 24, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Full Speech
- USA TODAY, March 16, Fact check: Video shows Putin justifying military operation in Ukraine, not threatening Kenya
Thank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.
Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.