A video claiming to show Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with cocaine on his desk during a video call with billionaire Elon Musk went viral in spring 2022, but the footage was clearly doctored.
The video was shared from numerous Russian-language sites and blogs, and on Telegram, in late April. It showed Zelenskyy speaking to the Tesla CEO and one other person over video chat. Next to the Ukrainian president's hand, which was placed on the desk, was a pile of white powder and what appeared to be a credit card. One headline (translated from Google) stated, "Zelensky Caught Again With Cocaine On The Table."
The digitally manipulated footage was created by using a genuine video of Zelenskyy in a video call with the pair. That authentic footage was posted to Zelenskyy's Instagram account in March 2022 as the Russian invasion of Ukraine was in its early stages. In the call, Zelenskyy invited Musk to Ukraine "after the war."
The same clip was posted on the BBC's website, as well, without any indication of cocaine or a credit card.
Many people online compared that authentic footage with the edited version, pointing out the discrepancy.
The Associated Press also pointed out the differences, saying, in the edited video, the credit card did not look 3-dimensional and the reflection from the light on the desk was still visible through the card as the camera moved over it.
Given that the footage that surfaced in spring 2022 supposedly showing Zelenskyy with cocaine on his desk was clearly doctored, we have rated this claim as "False."