25 hoaxes, fakes and misinformation about Russia and Ukraine
During the early hours of February 24, Russia launched a military offensive at various points in Ukraine. As a result, dozens of videos and images supposedly linked to the start of this military conflict are being shared on social media. However, many of them are either old or have not been recorded in Ukraine. Disinformation thrives during crisis, so when in doubt, avoid sharing content if you are not sure that it’s legit.
These are the hoaxes and misinformation cases that we have spotted since the attack started:
No, this video is not from the campaign of the president of Ukraine, Volodímir Zelenski: it is a scene from a series in which he was the main actor
"The election campaign of Zelenski, the president of Ukraine". With this message, a video has been shared in which Volodímir Zelenski, president of Ukraine, is seen shooting dozens of people in a room. It's a hoax: it's a scene from the series “Servant of the People 2” in which he played the role of main actor in 2017, almost two years before he was named as a president of Ukraine.
No, this photo of a Russian flag being placed on a public building in Ukraine has not been taken during the current attack: it is from 2014
A photo where we can see a person on a ladder placing a Russian flag on a public building in Ukraine is circulating on social media platforms such as Twitter. It is being shared as if the image were current, coinciding with the military offensive that Russia has carried out in several places in Ukraine during the early hours on February 24.
It's a hoax. The photo was taken in Ukraine, but it is from the 1st of March 2014. The picture can be found on the website of the Reuters agency with the following description: “A pro-Russian protester installs the Russian flag at the regional government building after clashes with supporters of Ukraine's new government in central Kharkiv March 1, 2014”.
No, this photograph of people praying in Ukraine is not recent: it has been circulating since at least 2019
"Christians in Ukraine praying outdoors, in the snow, asking the Lord to save them from war" (sic). This message is being shared along with an image of people kneeling in a snowy square. The photograph has gone viral after Russia's attack on Ukraine. But it is a hoax. The image is not recent and has been shared since at least 2019.
No, this video does not show Russian paratroopers landing in Ukraine during the current conflict: it has been circulating since at least 2016 and it is linked to the Russian city of Rostov
A video is being shared on social media in which that shows a sky full of paratroopers and dozens of soldiers on the ground. According to those who share this video, the scene belongs to the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It’s also said that they are "Russian military paratroopers landing in Ukraine", specifically, in the city of Kharkov.
It's a hoax. The video has been circulating since at least 2016 and is linked to a landing in the Russian city of Rostov.
No, this video of an explosion is not from the bombing of Ukraine: it has been circulating since 2015 related to an explosion in China
"Shortly before 4 am the missile bombardment of Ukraine began". Some images of an explosion with this message have been played in the Antena 3 news program on February 24 [minute 4:20]. But it is a hoax: it is a recording that has been circulating since August 2015, linked to an explosion in Tianjin, China.
No, this picture of a fire near Chernobyl is not current or related to the conflict of Russia and Ukraine: it is from a fire that occurred in April 2020
"ALERT!!! CROSSFIRE generates fires near Chernobyl, the sarcophagus of the nuclear power plant is in danger" (sic). With this text, a photo is shared in which we see a part of the restricted area in Chernobyl (Ukraine) after the nuclear power plant accident in 1986 and a fire in the background. It is spread as if it were current, after the start of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and as if the fire had been generated by a "crossfire" between the two countries, but it is a hoax. The photo is from April 2020.
Disinformation claiming that "North Korea just sent troops to Ukraine in support of Russia"
"North Korea has just sent troops to Ukraine in support of Russia," says a screenshot of a tweet in Portuguese that has been gone viral in recent hours. According to this tweet, posted alongside a photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the latter has just sent troops to Ukraine to support Russia after that country's bombing of Ukraine.
But there is no evidence that North Korea has just sent troops to Ukraine in support of Russia, as of February 24 at 1:00 p.m. If we do a search we can see that neither the media nor the correspondents and journalists in Ukraine who are reporting on the conflict have echoed it. On the other hand, the account that has spread the tweet has already been deleted on Twitter.
No, this photo is not from the current Russian bombardment of Ukraine: it has been circulating since at least 2021 related to Gaza (Palestine)
After Russia's bombing of Ukraine during the early hours of February 24 in several parts of the country, an image that supposedly shows one of those bombings has gone viral. It is a hoax: the image has been circulating since 2021 related to an attack in Gaza (Palestine).
No, this video does not show real images of a bombing of Ukraine by Russia: it is a video game
Coinciding with the military offensive by Russia to Ukraine that began in the early hours of February 24, a video of an alleged bombing in Ukrainian territory has gone viral on social media networks. The recording is shared with messages such as "it is not a movie or a video game, they are real images of the bombing of Ukraine by Russia" (sic).
No, the video of Putin announcing a bombing against Ukraine was not recorded on Monday, February 21, it is from this Thursday 24
In the early hours of February 24, the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, announced a bombardment against Ukraine in several areas of the country.
After the message, rumors have begun to circulate on Twitter indicating that the video would have been recorded on the afternoon of Monday 21 because the Russian president's suit coincided with that of the announcement he made that day where he recognized the separatist regions of Donetsk and Lugansk as independent. But it is a hoax and the video was not recorded three days before. It has been recorded this Thursday 24.
No, this video of an explosion is not from a Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24: it has been circulating, at least, since the end of January 2022
"The sky lights up as the Russian attack continues" or "explosions registered in Mariupol". With messages like these, a video is circulating saying it corresponds to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine that began in the early hours of February 24. However, it is a hoax. The video has been circulating since the 29th of January 2022.
No, this video is not recent nor was it filmed in Ukraine: it is from a rehearsal of a military parade recorded in Russia in May 2020
“LAST MINUTE | This is how Ukraine wakes up after the start of the attack by Russian troops. The Russian military air force flies over Ukraine”. With this text, a video circulates on Twitter assuring that it has been recorded after the start of Russia's bombing of Ukraine at dawn on February 24 in various parts of the country.
But it is a hoax. The video can be found on YouTube with the title: “Parade rehearsal 04/05/2020. Air part. Plane flight over Tushino” (a city in the North of Moscow). As the BBC explained, that day there was a rehearsal in Moscow on the occasion of the Victory parade that is held every May 9, although due to the coronavirus pandemic that year's military parade was postponed to the month of June.
No, this video is not of the destruction of Russian military equipment by the Ukrainian Army: it was recorded in Syria in 2020
"Video of destruction of Russian military equipment by [the drone] Bayraktar TB2", claims a viral tweet in Ukrainian that shares a video recorded from the air in which the bombing of a military convoy is seen as if it had been done by the Ukrainian Army . But it is a hoax: the video was recorded in Syria in the year 2020. They have inverted the video and now it is being shared as if it had happened in Ukraine in February 2022.
No, this video of a missile launch has not been recorded in Ukraine: it was recorded in May 2021 and it is from the conflict between Palestine and Israel
"URGENT - UKRAINE-RUSSIA WAR: Vladimir Putin is killing children, the elderly and pregnant women." Whit this text a video of a missile launch is being shared on social media networks, as if it were related to the current situation that Ukraine is experiencing after Russia bombed some of its cities on the night of February 23, 2022. But it is a hoax. The video is from May 2021, when Hamas launched missiles at several Israeli cities.
No, this photograph of a young woman carrying a gun on a bus is not current or related to the military crisis between Russia and Ukraine
Coinciding with the recent offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine, an image of a young woman, supposedly Ukrainian, on a bus carrying a weapon is spreading on social media platforms.The photograph is shared with messages such as "Ukrainian women are ready to accompany their compatriots to defend their homeland against the Russian invasion" (sic).
It is a hoax that the image is current and is related to the military conflict between Russia and Ukraine. It is also not true that the photograph was taken in Ukraine. The young woman in the image is a Russian model named Ekaterina Gladkij who shared the photo on the Russian social network VK in March 2020.
No, this video is not from "Russia at war with Ukraine": it is a simulation of a video game
After the bombing of some areas of Ukraine on February 24, a video is circulating and supposedly shows "Russia at war with Ukraine." The recording shows how a plane bombs some buildings, but it is a hoax: it is a simulation of the video game Arma 3 and is not a real video of what happened in the last few hours in Ukraine.
No, this photo of a plane on fire in the air is not current or related to the situation in Ukraine: it has been circulating for years related to an accident in 1993
The photo of a plane on fire in the air, supposedly shot down by a missile, is being shared as if it were current, after the Russian bombing in several places in Ukraine in the early hours of February 24, 2022. It is a hoax. The photo has been circulating for years linked to an accident between two Russian planes in 1993.
No, this video is not of a Russian attack on Ukraine: it is of explosions in an industrial zone in Tianjin (China) in 2015
"URGENT hell on earth, Russia-Ukraine conflict". With this message a video is being shared on social media networks such as Twitter stating that it is a video recorded during the Russian bombing of Ukraine in the early hours of this February 24 in various parts of the country.
But it is a hoax. The images were recorded in 2015 during explosions that took place in Tianjin, a port city in northeastern China and that left more than 50 dead, according to media such as the BBC or The Guardian.
No, Biden does not claim in this video that the US would attack Russia for invading Ukraine: the subtitles are false
A video with Spanish subtitles of a press conference from the president of the United States, Joe Biden, in which he allegedly confirmed that Putin had decided to invade Ukraine, is going viral. The video has been circulating since at least February 21, the date on which you first sent it to our WhatsApp chatbot (+34 644 229 319). But the video is spreading from before the conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in the early hours of February 24.
Biden allegedly said that the US would attack Russia before Russia could "harm" Americans in Ukraine. But it is a hoax, the subtitles in Spanish are false.
No, this video is not of "Russian warplanes" shooting civilians in Ukraine: it was recorded in Turkey in 2016
"Let the whole world know that Russian warplanes are shooting at innocent civilians in Ukraine." With this message, a video in which we see people running down the street while being shot from the air is circulating. It is shared as if it were related to the current situation in Ukraine after Russia bombed several points in this country in the early hours of February 24, 2022. It is a hoax. The video was recorded in Turkey in 2016.
No, this video warning that the war between Russia and NATO is imminent and there is a danger of a nuclear attack is not from the 'BBC': it is a fictional recording that has been circulating since at least 2018
A video in which supposedly the British public television and radio service, BBC, warns of an imminent war between Russia and NATO and the danger of a nuclear air attack has gone viral.
It's a hoax. The video does not belong to the BBC. It is a fictional representation by an Irish company, as the network itself indicated in 2018: “We'd like to make absolutely clear that it's a fake and does not come from the BBC”, stated on Twitter.
No, this video does not show a Russian military invasion of a town in Ukraine: it was recorded in 2019 in Aleppo (Syria)
More than 27,000 users have viewed a TikTok video in which soldiers are seen in a military operation. As you can read in the caption of the video, the images supposedly correspond to a Russian invasion of a town in Ukraine.
No, this video is not of a gas explosion in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk in 2018: it was recorded in Ukraine on February 24, 2022
Journalist Justin Yau tweeted a video on Thursday 24th showing a damaged apartment block with the following text: “An apartment building is devastated by bombing, at the South of Chuguyev [Ukraine]. Incalculable number of victims”. In response, several people have tried to discredit that it is a Russian bombing in Ukraine, stating that it is actually a gas explosion in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk in 2018. But this is a hoax. In fact the video was recorded in Ukraine the day Russia began bombing the country.
What do we know about the map that supposedly shows "NATO bases" in the world? From the organization they assure that it does not represent their bases
A map in which we see points with the logo of NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) indicated at different points in the countries of the northern half of the Earth is circulating on social media networks. It spreads with comments claiming that they are "NATO bases" that are supposed to be surrounding Russia.
From NATO they assure Maldita.es that this map does not represent their bases around the world. The points that appear on it do not correspond to those that indicate the presence of the organization in different countries on the maps at the NATO´s website. However at Maldita.es we have not been able to independently verify if there are more bases in other places.
No, this image of César Carballo as an "expert in geostrategy" is not real: it is a meme
Coinciding with the escalation of military tension between Russia and Ukraine in late January, an image— in which the doctor César Carballo appears supposedly making some statements about the aforementioned conflict— began spreading. "Putin is taking a lot of risks if he wants to invade Ukraine", said carballo allegedly.
It's a hoax. The image is a meme that is shared as real and in the original statement, this assistant doctor from the Emergency Service of the Ramón y Cajal Hospital in Madrid was stating that he had confined himself due to his daughter's positive for COVID-19. In fact, it is not the first time that César Carballo memes have been shared in which this doctor is presented as an expert in all kinds of issues unrelated to COVID-19.