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Footage Depicting Combat Between Russia and Ukraine Is Actually From Video Games
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Footage Depicting Combat Between Russia and Ukraine Is Actually From Video Games

Facebook users are sharing the clips as though they are real.

Screenshot of an Arma 3 simulation posted on Facebook.

A number of videos have recently circulated on Facebook depicting combat between Russian and Ukrainian forces. The videos, which portray scenes such as a “top-secret” Russian aircraft carrier being sunk by a Ukrainian F-16 and a Ukrainian SU-24 bomber sinking another Russian ship are often shared on the site as if they are real footage. However, these videos are actually clips from Arma 3, a popular military simulation video game.

When viewed quickly or in low resolution the footage can look deceptively real, but upon closer viewing the recordings can be clearly recognized as digitally generated. The Associated Press previously identified one YouTube channel as the creator of some of these videos, and The Dispatch Fact Check found a number of other channels with similar content. Though the YouTube channels themselves state that their videos depict simulations and not real combat, many of the social media accounts reposting those are doing so with the intent to deceive users by passing them off as real. Some of these posts have received thousands of likes.

Bohemia Interactive, the developer of Arma 3, has previously recognized that some footage from the game has been used for disinformation.

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Alex Demas is a fact checker at The Dispatch and is based in Washington, D.C. Prior to joining the company in 2023, he worked in England as a financial journalist and earned his MA in Political Economy at King's College London. When not heroically combating misinformation online, Alex can be found mixing cocktails, watching his beloved soccer team Aston Villa lose a match, or attempting to pet stray cats.