Video with inaccurate subtitles does not show 'Putin praising Pakistan PM Imran Khan'
A video has circulated in social media posts that claim it shows Russian President Vladimir Putin praising Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan after the two leaders met in Moscow on the day Russia invaded neighbouring Ukraine. The clip was viewed hundreds of thousands of times in posts by Pakistan-based social media users. In fact, the video's English-language subtitles have been misleadingly altered. In the original clip, Putin was shown criticising Ukraine.
The video -- viewed more than 240,000 times -- shows Putin speaking in Russian.
"I am grateful for Imran Khan's visit to Russia despite pressure from the European Union and United States," reads the Urdu-language caption in the Facebook post shared on February 28, 2022.
Khan was in Moscow meeting Putin on the day that Russia invaded Ukraine, in what was widely considered an ill-timed visit, AFP reported.
In the misleading posts, English-language subtitles have been superimposed on the video.
The subtitles read: "This week I hosted the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a brave man. He resisted Western pressure to accept my invitation to visit Russia.
"We discussed many areas of mutual interest including Afghanistan and trade cooperation and soon, I will visit Pakistan to sign a major oil pipeline deal."
A logo for the British newspaper The Guardian is visible in the video's top right-hand corner.
Khan later defended his trip to Moscow -- the first by a Pakistani leader to Russia in more than two decades -- in a televised address on February 28, saying it would "prove beneficial for Pakistan in the future".
On March 2, the ambassadors of European Union nations to Pakistan appealed for Islamabad to support an emergency resolution condemning the Russian invasion of Ukraine after the country abstained from an earlier vote on the crisis.
Khan is attempting a balancing act in relations with the world's superpowers -- particularly as Islamabad's value to the United States has slipped following the withdrawal of foreign forces from neighbouring Afghanistan.
However, the video has been shared in a false context.
A reverse image search found a longer version of the video posted on YouTube by The Guardian on February 26.
The video's title reads: "Putin references neo-Nazis and drug addicts in bizarre speech to Russian security council."
The English-language subtitles make no reference to Khan or Pakistan.
The video's description adds: "[Putin] claimed that most Ukrainian military units have been reluctant to engage with Russian forces and said the units offering resistance are mostly volunteer battalions."
In the clip, Putin refers to the Ukrainian government as "drug addicts and neo-Nazis".
AFP also published footage of the same speech on YouTube on February 26.
Below is a screenshot comparison of the video with altered subtitles (left) and The Guardian's original video (right):
As of March 3, 2022, there have been no official reports that Putin publicly praised Khan during or following the meeting in Moscow.
AFP has debunked a wave of false claims about the Russia-Ukraine conflict.