Russia-Ukraine War: Fact-checking viral images from the war

The Russian attack on Ukraine has resulted in untrue and deceptive videos and photographs circulating on social media alleging to be product of the crisis.

BBC reality check debunked several footages from prior warfares in Ukraine and elsewhere in the world, including images of troops on exercises.

Nexus News gathered that social media outlets including Twitter appear to be putting up with an aggressive role in confronting deceitful content, eliminating several videos headlined to be misleading by fact-checkers and researchers.

During the opening hours of the tension, various videos alleging to be the Russian air force operating over Ukraine went viral on social media.

A particular clip, according to the BBC, which has subsequently been deleted, reveals a fighter jet flying over an urban area. It is followed by a caption which implies it was filmed in the present Ukraine dispute.

Misleadingly captioned video of a fighter jet PHOTO SOURCE: TWITTER

However, a closer glance discloses that the aircraft is an American-built F-16 Fighting Falcon, which has never been in service in either Russia or Ukraine.

Another clip reveals formations of fighters and bombers flying over an urban area to the sound of air raid sirens.

These aircraft were readying for a military parade flypast in 2020 (PHOTO SOURCE: TWITTER)

Nexus News further learnt that the footage revealed preparations for a military parade flypast in 2020. The sound of an air raid siren had been dubbed over the original audio.

A third video clip contends that Russian paratroopers were landing near the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

These troops weren’t filmed parachuting into Ukraine PHOTO SOURCE: TWITTER

The video gathered hundreds of thousands of views on Twitter, but actually first appeared on Russian-language internet in 2016.

A fourth clip shared widely on Twitter and YouTube is tagged as exhibiting a Russian jet being shot down over Ukraine.

This is a Libyan government aircraft being shot down by rebels over Benghazi in 2011. PHOTO SOURCE: TWITTER

Some of images circulated does not show combat operations at all.

Similarly, footage of an explosion behind some apartment blocks alleges to be from the city of Mariupol in south-eastern Ukraine.

Among those sharing the clip is the Twitter account of former Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Volodymyr Yelchenko.

As the caption to the video suggests in Russian, it reveals the result of a lightning strike on a power station, rather than any military action. (PHOTO SOURCE: TWITTER)

A version of this video was however, uploaded to TikTok on 29 January, on an account which regularly posts images and film of explosions.

Also, users have doubted the greenery on the trees, with available data showing average February temperatures in Mariupol at around zero Celsius.

Some social media users have shared an image which claims to be of Russian troops raising a flag on the municipal building in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv today.

This photo is from 2014
While the caption is correct – it does show Russians hoisting the flag on that building in Kharkiv – reverse image search tools show that the event took place in 2014, during an earlier period of unrest. (PHOTO SOURCE: TWITTER)

Lastly, a video posted by one Chinese-language Twitter account, with the caption “Putin the Great has attacked Ukraine” is easily recognisable as the blast of a port building in Beirut in August 2020, which resulted in more than 200 deaths.

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