No! This is not American Admiral Eric Olson and he was not captured in Azovstal

A photographic comparison between the portrait of an American admiral and a shot of some Russian soldiers escorting those who appear to be prisoners of war circulates on Facebook. Users claim that the first of the prisoners is US Admiral Eric T. Olson, who was captured in Azovstal.

For those in a hurry:

  • No, the one in the picture not Eric T. Olson
  • The photo dates back to April 14, and therefore does not depict the evacuation of the soldiers who defended the Azovstal steel mill.


Here is an example of the post shared on social media: “American Admiral Eric Olson (highly decorated special operations commander) born in Tacoma, USA captured in Azovsta, Mariupol!” writes user Oksana.

The photo of March 2022

The images, however, can be found at the original Source, Sputnik Images, the photo section of the press agency of the same name, which is part of the Russian state-controlled media. Here you can read that the photo dates back to April 14, 2022, a date well before the evacuation of the military who defended Azovstal, which began on May 16. Below one screenshot showing the date in the picture specification.

70-year-old Olson retired in 2011

It should also be noted that Olson was born in 1952, and is therefore 70 years old. A rather advanced age for a serving soldier. The man retired in 2011. Furthermore, the soldiers evacuated from the Azovstal steel plant are currently in the hands of the Russian army, while Kiev is trying to organize a prisoner exchange. If the news of Olson’s imprisonment were true, he would probably have received a lot of attention in Russia, as he is an important figure in the US military. At the moment, however, there are no references to his capture or release communicated by the press agency Sputnik.


A photo comparison circulating on Facebook suggests that a Russian Army POW is US Admiral Eric T. Olson. Various elements prove that the comparison tries to prove false information. Olson is 70 and retired in 2011, but more importantly, the photo dates back to April 2022, before the evacuation of the military from Azovstal, as evidenced by the date indicated in the original Source.

Open Fact Checking thanks Alessandro Martorana for the


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Tags: American Admiral Eric Olson captured Azovstal

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