A video of a man filming mass graves dug up inside a cemetery from inside his car while driving around is going viral on social media, claiming to be mass graves dug up for Russian soldiers who died in the war against Ukraine. In the video the man seems to be saying something in Russian while he points his camera to the multiple freshly dug up graves in the cemetery.
The video has been shared on Facebook by a Facebook page called ‘Ukraine in Crisis’ which has 2,08,204 followers on the platform. The video has garnered 1,800 shares and over 1,000 comments along with the caption ‘Hundreds of graves have been dug in the cemeteries of Russia – they are waiting for the burial of Russian cargo 200, which is starting to come from Ukraine. The Russians are filming and posting on social networks, they are in shock. The losses of the Russian army in Ukraine exceeded 10 thousand soldiers. They are dying at the rate of a thousand a day.’
Newschecker found similar claims on Facebook with similar captions.
Since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, 2022 between 3,000 and 10,000 Russian soldiers have been killed according to US and NATO officials. Ukrainian officials have claimed the toll is even higher, at more than 15,000.
Fact Check/ Verification
Newschecker conducted a Google reverse image search on the key-frames of the viral video to ascertain its authenticity and found a tweet which contained the same video uploaded on 9th October, 2021, making it clear that the video is not from the recent invasion of Ukraine by Russia.
Newschecker also found another tweet uploaded on 5th March, 2022 which contained the same video along with the caption ‘Ukrainian blogger published the information that in Surgut thousands of graves are prepared for Russian soldiers. He has forgot this time of year it’s a little bit snowy in Russia.’
Using this as a clue, Newschecker ascertained that the video is from Surgut, Russia. Upon further investigation, Newscheker checked the Instagram handle of the Mayor of Surgut, who had posted a video on his social media clarifying the misinformation regarding the viral video which claimed that the mass graves had been dug up for Russian soldiers in an interview.
According to the translation of the Instagram post, it read “Disinformation attacks have also reached Surgut. For several days now, a fake video has been circulating on the Internet that the Surgut cemetery is allegedly being prepared to receive the soldiers who died during the special operation. I declare unequivocally that this information is a fake.
The video is really our cemetery, only the footage is from last year. We already commented on them in September 2021. At that time the graves were being prepared for the winter. This is a standard procedure for earthworks in northern cities. Due to the fact that we have rather low temperatures in winter, all work of this specific nature is carried out in advance. This practice has been going on for at least 15 years.
He told about this broadcast of Channel One in the program “Antifake”.”
Newschecker also found a news report by a Russian news website which relayed the information calling the mass graves dug up for Russian soldiers as fake.
According to the investigation conducted by Newschecker, an old video from 2021 in Surgut is being passed off as recent mass graves dug up for Russian soldiers.
Result: False Context/False
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