Fact check: Video claiming to show Ukraine war actually shows video game

The claim: A video shows soldiers destroying a Russian tank

A video circulating widely on social media claims to show the destruction of a Russian tank, one of many videos that have surfaced in recent weeks purporting to be footage from the Ukrainian conflict.

"Soldiers destroyed Russian Tank with NLAW in Ambush," says the title accompanying a 9-minute video posted to Facebook on March 24, using a shorthand reference to an anti-tank weapon. The video moves through scenes of war, including lines of soldiers with Ukrainian flags on their arms moving across the countryside.

That video gained little traction online, but an identical one posted March 15 accumulated more than 600,000 views and 10,000 shares before being deleted.

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But the videos doesn't actually show what the caption claims. The footage is from a video game, Arma 3, which has been falsely presented in numerous cases as Ukraine footage in recent weeks.

USA TODAY has reached out to the poster for comment.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, misinformation about the conflict is flooding social media.
As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, misinformation about the conflict is flooding social media.

Footage is from a video game

Using the reverse-image search tool TinEye, USA TODAY found at least some of the footage comes from Arma 3, a military simulation game.

TinEye compared screengrabs from the video to other videos on the internet. For example, one screengrab from the Facebook video showing a close-up of a weapon closely matched footage from a 2017 YouTube video of an Arma 3 mission.

An identical video to the ones posted on Facebook was also posted to YouTube on March 14, but with the title extended to label the footage as from Arma 3.

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Several users who commented on the Facebook video also identified the video game footage. One commenter noted that soldiers in the video "magically walk through, not around or under, the tree limbs."

This is far from the first time video game footage has been passed off as depicting the war in Ukraine. In February, another clip of Arma 3 footage claimed to show war between Russia and Ukraine — before Russia launched its invasion. More recently, another clip showed footage from Digital Combat Simulator World, a Swiss-made battlefield game.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a Facebook video shows soldiers destroying a Russian tank. A look at the graphics, combined with reverse-image searching technology, shows that the footage comes from the Arma 3 video game.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Footage shows a video game, not ambush of a Russian tank