Documenting and Debunking Dubious Footage from Ukraine’s Frontlines


As Russia’s military escalation in and around Ukraine continues apace, a number of questionable videos and claims have appeared on social media and in Russian state media outlets. All appear to suggest Ukrainian aggression near the country’s border with Russia and two self-declared republics (occupied regions controversially recognized by Russia earlier this week) in the east of the country.


Yet as many researchers and journalists have pointed out, there has been little solid evidence to support many of the claims that have been made thus far. In some cases, open source information even appears to contradict what has been stated. Many of the more dramatic claims aired by Russian state media or pro-separtatist channels of Ukrainian aggression in recent days appear to have little truth to them. On the contrary, some videos appear to be flagrant attempts at disinformation. For example, the Telegram channel of the ‘DNR’ People’s Militia posted a video on February 18 purporting to show an attempt by Polish-speaking saboteurs to blow up chlorine containers at a sewage treatment plant near the town of Horlivka in separatist controlled eastern Ukraine. The accompanying post claimed that the attack had been foiled and that the footage was retrieved from one of the saboteurs’ bodies.

A screen grab from a video posted by the DNR People’s Militia that claimed to show an attempt by saboteurs to blow up chlorine containers at a sewage plant.

However, inspecting the metadata revealed that the video was filmed days before the stated date. The audio track had also been manipulated with the addition of explosion sounds that appear to have been lifted from a YouTube video of Finnish military exercises. Read the full article here.

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