The world of news is complex – and false stories and images are often widely shared on social media. Blasting News’s editorial team spots the most popular hoaxes and misleading information every week to help you discern truth from falsehood. Here are some of the most shared false claims of this week, of which none are legit.


Ukraine is not on a path to have nuclear weapons

False claim: In a speech on February 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed that Ukraine has plans to develop nuclear weapons. During the broadcast, the Russian leader further stated that the United States is converting its missile defenses into offensive weapons and has plans to put nuclear weapons on Ukrainian territory.

“If Ukraine acquires weapons of mass destruction, the situation in the world and in Europe will drastically change, especially for us, for Russia [...] We cannot but react to this real danger,” Putin said.


  • With the end of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s, as part of an agreement promoted by Washington, London and Moscow – called the Budapest Memorandum –, Ukraine gave up a huge arsenal of Russian nuclear weapons left on its territory in exchange for ensuring the security and integrity of its borders.
  • Despite having the physical control of nuclear weapons during the Soviet period, only Russia had the technical capability to develop such weapons, and the authority to fire this arsenal was exclusive to Moscow.
  • According to data from the World Nuclear Association, Ukraine does not currently possess the necessary infrastructure to produce nuclear fuel – let alone nuclear weapons –, importing from Russia a large part of what it consumes to supply its nuclear plants.
  • The U.S. government has repeatedly said that it has no plans to install nuclear weapons in Ukraine, a country that is not even a member of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).


Ukraine was not “number 1 donor” to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign

False claim: During a rally for a congressional candidate in Texas on February 19, Rep.

Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) claimed that Ukraine was the top donor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, in which she was defeated by Donald Trump.


  • In a statement to Politifact, Anna Massoglia, the editorial and investigations manager at OpenSecrets, a nonprofit organization that tracks money in politics, said that there is no record that the Ukrainian government or Ukrainian citizens made donations to Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign.
  • According to the Federal Election Commission's website, federal law “prohibits contributions, donations, expenditures (including independent expenditures) and disbursements solicited, directed, received or made directly or indirectly by or from foreign nationals in connection with any federal, state or local election.”

Latin America

Video does not show Biden announcing that the U.S.

will attack Russia

False claim: Social media users in Latin America have shared an excerpt from a recent press conference by President Joe Biden. The video is followed by a caption in Spanish according to which Biden reportedly said that Moscow has decided to invade Ukraine and that the U.S. will attack Russia before its citizens in Ukraine are affected.


  • The full video of the press conference was posted on the White House Twitter account on February 18.
  • In a transcript of the video, available on the White House website, Biden did not say that Russia had initiated the invasion of Ukraine, nor that the U.S. intended to strike back with a direct attack on Russia.
  • On February 24th, however, the Russian army began its invasion of Ukraine, an action that was later strongly condemned by Biden with the following statement: “President Putin’s actions demand a firm response. That’s why we’re imposing full blocking sanctions on VEB and Russia’s military bank, cutting off Russia from western financing, imposing sanctions on elites, and more. We will continue to escalate sanctions if Russia escalates.” Again, Biden has not shown any intention of engaging in a direct military confrontation with Russia.


It is false that Australian TV reported that Queen Elizabeth II is being treated with ivermectin

False claim: Social media users have shared the claim that Queen Elizabeth II, who tested positive for COVID-19 on February 18, is using ivermectin to treat the disease.

The information stems from a news report from Australia’s Nine Network show “A Current Affair” concerning the 95-year-old monarch’s health. The report includes images of a box of the drug Stromectol, a brand name version of ivermectin, allegedly indicating that the Queen is being treated with the drug.


  • In a statement on its website, “A Current Affair” said: “Last night our report on the Queen contained a shot that should not have been included. The shot was included as a result of human error. We were highlighting an approved infusion medication called Sotrovimab and the report accidentally cut to a shot of Stromectol – a product which contains Ivermectin [...] We do not suggest the Queen is using Ivermectin.”
  • Since March 31, 2021 the World Health Organization (WHO) has recommended that ivermectin – originally developed as an antiparasitic drug – should not be used to treat patients with COVID-19, a position that is shared, among other health agencies, by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and the UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
  • In February 2021, the pharmaceutical company Merck, which is responsible for manufacturing Stromectol, said in a statement that there is no data available to support the efficacy of ivermectin against COVID-19.

United Kingdom

Video of a rolling ferry was not made during Storm Eunice

False claim: Video showing a queue of cars waiting to board a ferry rolling violently in the sea was shared by social media users in the U.K.

along with the claim that the clip was recorded last February 18, during Storm Eunice, considered the worst to hit England in 32 years.


  • A reverse image search shows that the video was shared in February 2020 in articles published by BBC News and some British newspapers.
  • According to the reports, the clip shows a Caledonian MacBrayne ferry approaching the Ardrossan harbour in Scotland during Storm Dennis.


South African law does not allow citizens to arrest drug dealers

False claim: Social media users in South Africa have shared posts that claim that the country's law allows any citizen to arrest a drug dealer.


  • The circumstances for arrests in South Africa are laid out under the country's Criminal Procedure Act (CPA), which includes citizen's arrests.
  • This type of arrest, however, is only permitted for Schedule 1 offenses, while drug dealing falls under Schedule 2 offenses.
  • The false claim comes amid a series of violent protests in South Africa this February by a movement called Operation Dudula, which accuses “undocumented immigrants” of “stealing jobs” and being criminals.