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- While some media outlets have reported that Sri Lanka’s leaders are trying to flee the country because they fear being detained, they haven’t been arrested, and neither have Estonia’s prime minister or several Ukrainian ambassadors.
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said he would resign in the wake of demonstrations by protesters demanding he step down.
Some social media users who appear to be believers of the QAnon conspiracy theory are pointing to this power shift as evidence of long-hoped-for arrests.
"Resigned or Ar_rested?" says the caption of a July 11 Facebook post. The post lists several people in addition to Rajapaksa: "Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe," "Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' liberal Reform Party," "Ukraine's Ambaassador (sic) to Germany Andri Melnyk," (sic) "Ukraine's Dmbaassador (sic) to Hungary Liubov Nepop," "Ukraine's Ambassador to Norway Viacheslav Yatsiuk," and "Ukraine's Ambassador to Czech Republic Yevhen Perebyinis."
It includes an image of a hand holding a hammer emblazoned with the letter Q and the words "Justice is coming."
This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
There has been speculation that Sri Lanka’s president is trying to flee the country to avoid being detained, but we found no evidence that he and the other people mentioned in the post have been arrested.
The prime minister’s office in Sri Lanka has said Rajapaksa said he would resign on July 13, the BBC reported, though the president has yet to formally do so. Protesters have stormed both his official residence and that of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and said they won’t leave until the men relinquish power. Wickremesinghe also said he would step down but the New York Times reported on July 10 that both he and the president are in hiding.
Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas announced on July 8 that her liberal Reform Party had reached an agreement after months of negotiations to form a majority coalition in the parliament, according to Reuters. Kallas said she would resign at a later date and get reappointed by the new majority as it forms the new cabinet.
The Ukrainians mentioned in the post no longer serve as ambassadors. Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy dismissed them, according to a July 9 report from Ukrinform, Ukraine’s national news agency. Ukrinform didn’t provide any details about the dismissals. But the New York Times reported that Andriy Melnyk, the ambassador to Germany, was fired because he defended the legacy of a World War II nationalist leader who collaborated with the Nazis.
Zelenskyy has called the dismissal of his ambassadors a rotation that’s part of normal diplomatic practice, the Times said.
We rate claims that these political leaders and diplomats were arrested False.
Facebook post, July 11, 2022
BBC, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa confirms resignation, PM's office says, July 11, 2022
The Guardian, Sri Lanka’s Gotabaya Rajapaksa fails in effort to flee country, July 12, 2022
The New York Times, Embattled Leaders in Hiding, Sri Lankans Ask: What’s Next?, July 10, 2022
Reuters, Estonian PM reaches agreement to regain majority in parliament, July 8, 2022
Ukrinform, President Zelensky dismisses ambassadors to Germany, Hungary, Czech Republic, Norway and India, July 9, 2022
The New York Times, Ukraine dismisses its ambassador to Germany after controversial remarks, July 9, 2022
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