After weeks of speculation and escalating tensions in the Russia-Ukraine border, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced ‘military operation’ in Ukraine, with reports of explosions and Russian strikes finding their way to social media. Several users shared a video claiming to show visuals of one such explosion in Ukraine after a Russian airstrike. However, Newschecker has found the video to be unrelated to the recent Russian attack on Ukraine.
The viral video, claiming to show an explosion “started by Russian airstrike set off chain reaction at Luhansk power plant” in Ukraine.
Putin declared a war on Ukraine to defend pro-Russian separatists in the east of the Ukraine, in the Donbas region (Donetsk and Luhansk), which Russia recently recognised as ‘independent.’ “I have made the decision of a military operation,” Putin said, justifying the decision by claiming a “genocide” in Ukraine. The Russian President vowed retaliation against those who interfere with Russia’s Ukraine operation.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy declared martial law in the country and said that Russia had carried out missile strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure and border guards. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s external affairs minister, said “Putin has just launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Peaceful Ukrainian cities are under strikes. This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now.”
Several world leaders have condemned Russia’s “invasion” into Ukraine. US President Joe Biden said “Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring, and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way. The world will hold Russia accountable.”
Fact Check/ Verification
To verify the authenticity of the video claiming to show explosions in Ukraine, Newschecker began analysing the clip carefully. At around 0:15 minutes, a woman can be heard saying, “I think it might be a gas station.” We then conducted a reverse image search of the key-frames of the video on Google and found a video report by CBS News, dated August 15, 2015, titled ‘China warehouse explosion: New blasts and toxic winds and rising death toll.’
At 0:35 minutes in the video, we spotted some key frames of the clip going viral with the claim to show Russia’s air strike on Ukraine. According to the report, “There are new explosions and new concerns at the scene of the warehouse catastrophe in China. The warehouse, in the northeast port city of Tianjin, was used to store toxic chemicals.”
Taking a clue, we looked up the keywords ‘Tianjin explosion’ and set the time frame for search from August 2015 to September 2015. Newschecker found several videos of the incident.
We found the viral video on the official YouTube channel on BBC, uploaded on August 14, 2015, with the title ‘Tianjin explosion video captures fear of eyewitnesses.’
A report by The Guardian, dated August 15, 2015, also carried the same video. According to the report the viral footage of “huge blasts” in China’s port city of Tianjin was captured by one Dan Van Duren. “The explosions took place where toxic chemicals and gas were stored, and killed at least 55 people, including firefighters. The blasts were so large they were seen by satellites in space,” it added.
A series of massive explosions on August 12, 2015 had jolted the Chinese city of Tianjin. The investigation into the blasts at the Ruihai International Logistics warehouses showed the warehouse, which stored much more hazardous material than authorised, was located closer to homes than permitted, and had 700 tonnes of highly toxic sodium cyanide during the time of the explosion. China had set the ‘final death toll’ in the incident at 173.
We also came across a post on Reddit featuring the viral clip with the caption ‘A man recorded the 2015 Tianjin, China explosion on a somewhat closer view.’
A video of 2015 Tianjin Explosion in China is going viral with the claim to show the explosions at Luhansk power plant in Ukraine after a Russian air strike.
Result: False Context/False
YouTube Channel Of BBC