Fact Check-Image purporting to show the cover of TIME magazine claiming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky no longer uses the letters ‘z’ and ‘v’ is digitally altered

Online users have shared an image purporting to show a TIME magazine cover claiming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky no longer uses the letters “Z” and “V” in his name to protest the Russian invasion is digitally altered.

The image appears to show a cover of the April 2023 edition of TIME Magazine featuring an image of Zelensky with text that reads, “Ladimir Elensky refused to use the letters ‘Z’ and ‘V’ in his name and his first name. As a sign of support, our office publishes this news without the letters “Z” and “V”.

One user shared the image on Facebook with the caption “NEO-NAZI CLOWN with new name: LADIMIR ELENSKY” (here).

Another iteration of the image had over 1,400 likes on Twitter (archive.ph/wip/S6F4D).

Other examples of the image shared on social media can be seen (here), (archive.ph/wip/2XBvX) and (here).

The image, however, was not published by TIME magazine.

“This image is not authentic TIME coverage,” a TIME spokesperson told Reuters.

The image is not visible in the TIME magazine front page archive for the 2023 editions (time.com/vault/year/2022/).

An advanced Google search revealed no published article with the alleged title: (bit.ly/3EsnCGo).

Similarly, an advanced Twitter search revealed no such coverage posted by TIME’s Twitter account (@TIME) (bit.ly/3xE4tQg).

On April 19, 2023, the Lithuanian parliament voted to ban the public display of the letter “Z”, the black and orange ribbon of St. George and other symbols considered to express support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine (here).

Reuters has previously processed digitally altered images purporting to show the covers of TIME magazine (here), (here).


Digitally edited. TIME magazine failed to publish a front-page edition claiming that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky will no longer use the letters “Z” and “V” in his name in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine war. . The image is digitally altered and has never been released by the outlet.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Learn more about our fact-checking work here.