Russia’s fight to control the narrative on Ukraine
Independent

As people try to understand the scenes coming out of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion of the country, misinformation is spreading on social media.

Numerous videos, photos and posts attempt to undermine truth and even trick people into thinking the war isn't real.

Thankfully, fact-checkers have stepped up to debunk spurious claims and clean up social media.

Here are some demonstrably false posts you should watch out for.

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'Ukrainian girl confronting Putin's army'

A video shows a young "Ukrainian" girl confronting a "Russian" soldier. But she is, in fact, Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian girl who heroically took on an Israeli soldier (in Arabic) in 2012.


Ukrainian vice-president's wife joining the army

An image has done the rounds allegedly showing the wife of a 'Ukrainian vice-president' who has joined the country's armed forces to fight the Russian invasion.

This a lie, not least because Ukraine does not have a vice-president.

Fact-checkers Logically have realised that the photograph is an image of a Ukrainian soldier from August 2021.

The original photo was taken during a rehearsal for a military parade in Kyiv.


Sci-fi film set

Videos of a large crowd being asked by a director to run and scream in fear have racked up hundreds of thousands of views on multiple platforms.

Evidence that the war in Ukraine is fake? Nope. It was shot in Birmingham's Victoria Square in 2013 for the sci-fi film Invasion Planet Earth, and the director of the film wasn't happy to see it being misrepresented.


Body bag 'actors'

A clip of body bags moving is being used to claim that Ukraine's death toll is being inflated, with some conspiracy theorists claiming Ukraine are using actors to stage the war.

But the video is actually from a climate change protest that has been edited to appear as though it was recorded in the aftermath of Russia's invasion.


Wooden guns

A screenshot of a Fox News broadcast showing two Ukrainian men holding what appear to be wooden guns has gone viral to make the false claim- (yet again) that the war is a hoax.

But the images are from military training from a while back...


'Fake blood'

A video of people smiling as fake blood is applied to them has gone viral on Twitter.

When people share it, they use it as "evidence" that the war in Ukraine is a hoax and civilian victims are actually "crisis actors" - people hired to act out scenes from an attack.

However, the BBC found that this video is footage from the set of fictional TV series named Contamin, which was filmed in 2020.


'Russian planes'

A video claiming to show Russian planes invading Ukraine went viral at the start of the war last month.

The video spliced together clips of explosions, planes flying overhead but fact-checking organisation Full Fact determined that the video is false, and sourced the clips back to old TikTok videos that predate Putin sending troops into the country.

In a blog, they said: "It is unclear where or when these explosions really took place, but they do not show the Russian invasion of Ukraine."


'Paratrooper'

Snopes has determined that another video of a 'Russian paratrooper' documenting his invasion of Ukraine is false.

The video, which shows a man parachuting onto land "has been online since at least 2015, well before the Russian attack on its neighbouring country, and even before the rollout of TikTok," Snopes said.



Misinformation is rife during the war. Here's some advice if you need help verifying information about the crisis.

The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.

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