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26 Feb, 2022 11:26

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry posted fake video as air battle

Widely circulated video game footage, fact-checked by Reuters as ‘miscaptioned’, appeared on the ministry’s verified account
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry posted fake video as air battle

The verified Twitter page of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry published video game footage on February 25 claiming to show a Ukrainian fighter jet shooting down a Russian plane. On Saturday, Reuters fact-checked the widely shared fake video as ‘miscaptioned’.

The ministry’s tweet was still up at the time of publication. The 15-second video is accompanied by the caption, “What is this Ukrainian ace doing?” The Defense Ministry’s account describes it as a MiG-29 fighter jet destroying a Russian Su-35 jet with a missile.

Social media users were quick to point to the YouTube video ‘Ghost of Kiev. Dogfight between Ukrainian MiG29 and Russian Su27 simulated in DCS World’. The clip, which has over a million views, refers to an unconfirmed but quickly spreading story about the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ Ukrainian ace, who allegedly managed to single-handedly down six enemy aircraft.

However, that clip was first uploaded to YouTube with the title ‘Ghost of Kiev kill’. The uploader claimed the footage was made with a digital combat simulator in the description box.

DCS stands for Digital Combat Simulator World, a digital battlefield game developed by Eagle Dynamics.

A spokesperson for the company Matthias Techmanski confirmed in an email to Reuters that the footage was from DCS, and that Eagle Dynamics was “not responsible for its distribution,” and does not endorse “such content.”

The Reuters fact check said the footage was ‘miscaptioned’ and comes from a video game. Twitter on Saturday flagged the Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s post as misleading. It said that "this media is presented out of context."

Some users deleted the misleading video and apologized.

There have been a number of other videos making their way around social media described as footage of the ongoing military conflict in Ukraine, thus highlighting the long-standing problem in which unverified videos with little to no context or research end up being spread throughout social media and are even picked up by government accounts.