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No, a viral TikTok video does not show a Russian paratrooper dropping into current Ukraine conflict

Footage continues to go viral allegedly showing the ongoing attack from Russia on Ukraine. Here are three videos that falsely claim to show the scene on the ground.
Credit: VERIFY

On Friday, Feb. 25, Russia’s military forces continued to launch attacks on Ukraine’s capital of Kiev. The Associated Press reported there have been hundreds of casualties as some shelling struck apartment buildings, bridges and schools. 

President Joe Biden has said the U.S. will not intervene using military force in Russia, but sanctions would be enforced.

Since the news broke of Russia’s attack, many photos and videos have been shared online, allegedly illustrating the current situation in the region. This is Part 3 of our fact-checking series. Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a developing story. VERIFY will continue to monitor for claims around Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Want something verified? Email your questions about the invasion to questions@verifythis.com

THE QUESTION

Does this video show Russian paratroopers being dropped into Ukraine?

The video has gone viral across social media, and Barstool Sports even used (and deleted) it in the site’s coverage of the invasion.

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, the video was posted to Instagram in 2015.

WHAT WE FOUND

The video shared online claiming to show Russian paratroopers jumping into battle in Ukraine was labeled as being originally posted from TikTok user @romanadler123.

The video has since been deleted from the TikTok user’s page, but could be traced to an Instagram account with the same username. That video was posted to Instagram on Aug. 15, 2015.

Using RevEye, a reverse image search tool that allows users to search several photo databases, VERIFY could not find an earlier version of the video. 

Related: No, the US is not obligated to intervene in Ukraine

THE QUESTION

Does this video show Ukraine firing missiles to intercept Russian aircraft?

The video was used during a Spanish news broadcast and is being widely shared across Twitter.

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, this video does not show Ukraine intercepting Russian aircraft with missiles. It’s actually footage from the video game ARMA 3

WHAT WE FOUND

ARMA 3 is a military tactical shooter video game from 2013. A clip from the video game was posted to YouTube in January. 

At 14 seconds into the YouTube video showing the scene from ARMA 3, the light from a missile tracer can be seen. The same exact missile formation can be seen 6 seconds into the video purporting to have been taken recently from Ukraine.

In a statement to VERIFY,  a representative with Bohemia Interactive, the studio that created the ARMA series, said “there [are] a lot of videos from heavily modded Arma games being falsely tagged as a footage from the Ukrainian conflict.”

The game is regularly updated and allows for the addition of custom features, called “mods,” from the game’s playerbase.

Antena 3, a broadcasting station based in Spain, aired the ARMA 3 video live. After the broadcast aired, several online users posted “mirrors” of the video to show how it was actually a clip from the game (examples here, here and here) and was not filmed in Ukraine. 

Related: Yes, Russia violated international law by recognizing independence of Ukraine territories and sending in troops

THE QUESTION

Does this video show Ukrainian and Russian soldiers facing off during the current invasion?

@k_urdo4

#foryou #foryoupage #fypシ゚viral #tiktok #friends

♬ original sound - K_urdo4

The video has more than 19 million views on TikTok and has also been shared across Twitter.

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, the video was taken from a Russian air base in 2014.

WHAT WE FOUND

Using RevEye, a reverse image search tool, and InVid, which allowed VERIFY to separate the video clip into individual keyframes, VERIFY traced this video to a confrontation between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers at the Belbek Air Base. Belbek Air Base is a Russian military base.

The original video was posted to the BBC News Turkish YouTube channel on March 4, 2014. At 9 seconds into the video claiming to show the current invasion in Ukraine, the same flag can be seen flying at 19 seconds into the BBC video. The same vehicle can also be seen parked on the road behind soldiers.

The edited version claiming to show the Russia/Ukraine invasion from 2021 had subtitles, and the BBC video from the 2014 incident did not.

“There were tense moments at the Belbek Air Base, which belongs to Russia, just outside the city of Sevastapol. As the unarmed Ukrainian soldiers marched towards the base, the Russian soldiers on guard opened warning fire at the Ukrainian soldiers,” the caption of the BBC video said (via Google Translate). 

More from VERIFY: Yes, Russia’s currency, the ruble, hit its weakest level in history against the U.S. dollar

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