A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times in multiple social media posts that claim it shows Russia attacking Ukraine with a vacuum bomb in 2022. The claim, however, is false. Although Russia has been accused of using such weapons in Ukraine, the video in fact is a digital creation of a visual effects artist.
“The Russian army used thermobaric weapons again,” reads thistweet, which shared a video on March 3, 2022.
“Thermobaric weapons are also known as fuel air explosives or vacuum bombs! It is a weapon of mass destruction prohibited by the United Nations, and it is also known as a small atomic bomb.”
The 15-second video, which has been viewed more than 23,000 times, shows a missile-like object falling from the sky and striking the ground, followed by a flash of light and a mushroom cloud.
As the explosion occurs, a person can be heard shouting off camera.
The video was shared days after Kyiv and human rights groups accusedRussia of using fuel air explosives — also known as vacuum bombs or thermobaric weapons — in its invasion of Ukraine.
While no international laws specifically ban the useof vacuum bombs, it is argued that a country could be convicted of a war crime under the Hague Conventions if it uses them to target civilians in built-up areas, schools or hospitals.
However, the claim is false.
Keyword searches found the identical video publishedby on YouTube channel InsanePatient2 on February 28, 2022.
The video is titled: “What if Russia Started Nuclear War? #shorts”.
The channel’s description reads: “VFX… that’s it,” referring to computer-generated visual effects.
The same video was also published in InsanePatient2’s TikTok account hereon the same day, also with the caption: “What if Russia Started Nuclear War?”
In a comment in the TikTok post, InsanePatient 2 wrote: “to all of the smooth brained individuals thinking I’m trying to fool people, literally the words ‘what if” are in the title. get help.”
Below are screenshot comparisons between the video in the misleading social media post (L) and the genuine video on YouTube (R):
InsanePatient2 reused the background from the video in other clips.
The identical background can be seen in thisvideo, titled “Moon Crashes into Earth!”, posted on the same YouTube channel on March 4, 2022.
The clip also shows how the scene was created.
Below is a screenshot comparison between the video in the misleading post (L) and the moon video (R), with the same features circled by AFP.
Meanwhile, the male voice used in the “nuclear war” video also appears in thisclip, titled “What if two planets collided?”, which was posted on the same YouTube channel on January 28, 2022.