Investigations
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Fact-checked disinformation on the war in Ukraine detected in the EU – 2022

European fact-checkers focused a lot of their efforts in the past days and weeks in detecting and tackling disinformation concerning the situation in Ukraine.

At the beginning of the year, as the crisis was growing in intensity, the spread of false news about Ukraine detected in the EU was still very small. Fact-checkers detected a growth in the first half of February, even if the qualitative and quantitative levels of the disinformation was not alarmingly high.

After the military actions against the whole Ukraine started in the morning of 24 February, though, fact-checkers expect the situation to change substantially. At the end of this article, we add a list – which will be periodically updated – of fact-checking articles that the EDMO’s fact-checking network will publish during the crisis.

Disinformation detected before Russian military aggression

In the past few weeks, the EDMO’s fact-checking network has detected a growing circulation of disinformation related to the crisis in Ukraine.

For example, some published news verified in Italy and Spain were, by date of publication of the fact-checking articles:

  • 3 February 2022: A map portraying Russia as surrounded by Nato bases (verified in Spain by Maldita)
  • 3-4 February 2022: A video showing Russian troops invading a Ukrainian city (verified in Spain by Maldita and Newtral)
  • 14 February February 2022: A doctored image of a CNN program stating that Putin will delay the invasion until «there won’t be US weapons to steal» (verified in Italy by Facta)
  • 15 February 2022: A picture of people praying to avert the war in Ukraine (verified in Italy by Facta)
  • 16 February 2022: A picture of an Ukrainian girl with a gun in a bus, ready for the Russians (verified in Italy by Facta)
  • 21 February 2022: An image of a new supersonic Russian missile (verified in Italy by Facta)

Previously, in January, as reported in the EDMO brief on disinformation published in mid-February, some false news were detected especially in the Eastern Europe and in the Iberic peninsula.

The debunked news were, in particular:

  • Germany blocked flights of British planes with military equipment for Ukraine amid soaring tensions with Russia (verified in Poland by Demagog and AFP)
  • A video warning of an imminent nuclear war, supposedly published by the BBC (verified in Portugal by Polígrafo, in Spain by Newtral and Maldita)
  • A video showing the Ukrainian military preparing for a war with Russia (verified in Spain by VerificaRTVE)
  • A video compilation of war images implying that the war between Russia and Ukraine had already started (verified by VerificaRTVE in Spain)
  • A picture of tanks on a train directed to Ukraine (verified in Spain by VerificaRTVE)
  • A video showing a convoy of US tanks in Romania (verified in Romania by AFP)

Not only fact-checking

Alongside the debunking articles, some organisations also published contents with educational material and other analysis useful to understand the circulation of disinformation about the current crisis in Europe. For example:

  • A tutorial on different map tools that anyone can use to investigate disinformation about todays Ukraine-Russia’s crisis (by VerificaRTVE, Spain)
  • A comparison between US and Russia arguments about Ukraine (by VerificaRTVE, Spain)
  • A report on the phenomenon of Russian disinformation, according to experts and verifiers (by Newtral, Spain)

Similar initiatives were taken in the following weeks also by other fact-checking organisations. In particular:

  • Demagog (a fact-checking organisation based in Poland) published on 23 February 2022 an analysis on some of the most prevalent false Russian narratives concerning the Ukraine crisis.

Fact-checking articles published after Russia attacked Ukraine on 24 February 2022 (live updates)

Date
Country
Title
Link
25.02.2022 Portugal, Poligrafo Video posted on Twitter shows “Russian warplanes” firing on Ukrainian civilians? https://poligrafo.sapo.pt/fact-check/video-difundido-no-twitter-mostra-avioes-de-guerra-da-russia-a-dispararem-contra-civis-ucranianos
25.02.2022 Italy, Facta.news This video does not show a Russian plane shot down by Ukraine https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/25/questo-video-non-mostra-un-caccia-russo-abbattuto-dalla-contraerea-ucraina/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not of a paratrooper “invading Ukraine” during the current Russian attack: it has been circulating since at least 2015 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/paracaidista-invadiendo-ucrania-rusia/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video of an explosion is not of a Russian attack on Ukraine: it was recorded in Beirut (Lebanon) in 2020 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/explosion-ataque-rusia-ucrania-beirut/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video allegedly showing “Ukrainian soldiers fallen in battle on the outskirts of Kiev” is not current: it has been circulating since at least 2015 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/video-soldados-ucranianos-kiev/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video of riot police refusing to “go against their people” in Ukraine is not current: it is from 2014 hhttps://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/policias-odessa-ucrania-escudos/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photo of two children waving to Ukrainian soldiers is not current: it has been circulating for years https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/no-esta-foto-de-dos-ninos-saludando-a-unos-soldados-ucranianos-no-es-actual-circula-desde/
25.02.2022 Italy, Facta.news This photo doesn’t show a russian airplain https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/25/questa-foto-non-mostra-un-aereo-russo-abbattuto-in-ucraina/
25.02.2022 Italy, Facta.news RaiNews24 broadcasted a Chinese video instead an Ukrainian one https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/25/rai-news-24-ha-trasmesso-unesplosione-avvenuta-a-tianjin-cina-per-illustrare-la-crisi-tra-russia-e-ucraina/
25.02.2022 Poland, Demagog Witalij Klitschko is fighting at the front? This photo is from a year ago! https://demagog.org.pl/fake_news/witalij-kliczko-walczy-na-froncie-to-zdjecie-pochodzi-sprzed-roku/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photo of an injured girl is not from the conflict in Ukraine: it is from Palestine in 2021 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/nina-herida-ucrania-rusia-foto/
25.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, these images of bombings are not related to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine: they are photos taken in Gaza (Palestine) in 2018 and 2021 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220225/fotos-bombardeos-rusia-ucrania-gaza/
24.02.2022 Italy, Facta.news No, a nuclear waste storage facility in Chernobyl wasn’t destroyed https://facta.news/notizia-falsa/2022/02/24/no-le-forze-armate-russe-non-hanno-distrutto-un-impianto-di-stoccaggio-di-scorie-nucleari-a-chernobyl/
24.02.2022 Lithuania, DELFI Lithuanias Minister of Foreign Affairs didn’t ask to start invasion in Russia https://www.delfi.lt/news/melo-detektorius/melas/bando-sudominti-klaidinga-antraste-gabrielius-landsbergis-to-nesake.d?id=89541709
24.02.2022 Lithuania, DELFI Footage from videogame used as depiction of Russia – Ukraine conflict https://www.delfi.lt/news/melo-detektorius/melas/vaizdo-zaidimo-kadrus-melagingai-susiejo-su-ivykiais-ukrainoje.d?id=89548199
24.02.2022 Spain, Newtral No, this video does not show a Russian fighter shot down by Ukraine: it is Libya in 2011 https://www.newtral.es/avion-ruso-derribado-conflicto-ucrania/20220224/
24.02.2022 Spain, Newtral The video of Russian paratroopers attributed to the attack on Ukraine that is not recent https://www.newtral.es/paracaidistas-rusos-conflicto-rusia-ucrania/20220224/
24.02.2022 Spain, Newtral The video of 2021 in Gaza that is shared as if it were a Russian bombing of Ukraine https://www.newtral.es/video-bombardeo-ucrania/20220224/
24.02.2022 Spain, Newtral The subtitles of the video that do not correspond to the words of Joe Biden on the conflict between Russia and Ukraine https://www.newtral.es/subtitulos-video-biden/20220224/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video of an explosion is not from the Ukraine bombing: it has been circulating since 2015 in connection with an explosion in China https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/explosion-bombardeo-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photo is not from Russia’s current bombing of Ukraine: it has been circulating since at least 2021 in connection with Gaza (Palestine) https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/foto-bombardeo-rusia-ucrania-gaza/
24.02.2022 Greece, Ellinika Hoaxes No evidence that Putin’s war declaragtion speech pre-recorded https://www.ellinikahoaxes.gr/2022/02/24/den-yparchoun-apodeixeis-oti-o-vlantimir-poutin-eiche-magnitoskopisei-noritera-tin-omilia-kiryxis-polemou/
24.02.2022 Greece, Ellinika Hoaxes A fake photo circulating online, claims that Russia “liberated” Kharkiv https://www.ellinikahoaxes.gr/2022/02/24/phto-russian-flag-kharkiv-2014/
24.02.2022 Poland, Demagog “Imaginary” war in Ukraine? Fake news! https://demagog.org.pl/fake_news/wyimaginowana-wojna-na-ukrainie-fake-news/
24.02.2022 Poland, Demagog Photo of Russian fighter shot by Ukraine? Photo is old! https://demagog.org.pl/fake_news/zdjecie-zestrzelonego-rosyjskiego-samolotu-fotografia-jest-stara/
24.02.2022 Poland, Demagog Russian fighters in Kharkiv? Old footage! https://demagog.org.pl/fake_news/samoloty-szturmowe-w-charkowie-to-stare-nagranie/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video of an explosion is not from a Russian attack on Ukraine on February 24: it has been circulating, at least, since the end of January https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/explosion-ataque-rusia-ucrania-24-febrero/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photograph of people praying in Ukraine is not current: it has been circulating since at least 2019 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/personas-rezando-ucrania-rusia-2019/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not of “Russian warplanes” shooting civilians in Ukraine: it was recorded in Turkey in 2016 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/aviones-guerra-rusia-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita There is no evidence that the video of Putin announcing a bombing attack on Ukraine was recorded on Monday, February 21 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/video-putin-bombardeo-ucrania-lunes/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not of a Russian attack on Ukraine: it is of explosions in an industrial zone in Tianjin (China) in 2015 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/video-ataque-rusia-ucrania-china/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not from “Russia at war with Ukraine”: it is a simulation of a video game https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/video-rusia-guerra-ucrania-simulacion/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video of a missile launch is not recorded in Ukraine and is not related to the current situation: it was recorded in May 2021 and is from the conflict between Palestine and Israel https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/video-misiles-ucrania-2021/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not from the campaign of Volodímir Zelenski, president of Ukraine: it is a scene from a series in which he was the protagonist https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/video-campana-zelenski-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photograph of a young woman carrying a gun on a bus is not current or related to the military crisis between Russia and Ukraine https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/joven-arma-autobus-ucrania-rusia/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Russian Paratroopers Landing in Ukraine https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/ucrania-despues-inicio-ataque-rusas/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photo of a Russian flag being placed on a public building in Ukraine is not current: it is from 2014 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/bandera-rusa-edificio-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not current or from Ukraine: it is from a rehearsal of a military parade recorded in Russia in May 2020 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/ucrania-despues-inicio-ataque-rusas/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video does not show Russian paratroopers landing in Ukraine during the current conflict: it has been circulating at least since 2016 linked to the Russian city of Rostov https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/paracaidistas-rusos-aterrizando-ucrania-conflicto/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not of a gas explosion in the Russian city of Magnitogorsk in 2018: it was recorded in Ukraine on Feb. 24, 2022 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/ucrania-rusia-magnitogorsk-explosion-2018/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita Disinformation claiming that “North Korea just sent troops to Ukraine in support of Russia” https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/corea-norte-tropas-ucrania-apoyo-rusia/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photograph of a burning plane in the air is neither current nor related to the situation in Ukraine: it has been circulating for years in connection with an accident in 1993. https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/avion-llamas-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this photograph of people putting up a flag on a public building un Ukraine is not current: it was taken in 2014 https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/bandera-rusa-edificio-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Greece, Ellinika Hoaxes Two Greeks were not killed by Ukranian soldiers because they had pro-Russian sentiments https://www.ellinikahoaxes.gr/2022/02/15/incident-with-two-dead-in-ukraine-misinformation/
24.02.2022 Greece, Ellinika Hoaxes A video that shows Russian paratroopers landing in Kharkov it’s from previous exercitation https://www.ellinikahoaxes.gr/2022/02/24/video-of-russian-paratroopers-from-operations-in-ukraine-2022-misinformation/
24.02.2022 Italy, Facta News No, this video is not about Ukraine’s crisis, it’s from a parade in 2020 https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/24/questo-video-non-centra-con-la-crisi-russia-ucraina-e-una-parata-militare-del-2020/
24.02.2022 Germany, Correctiv Video of saboteurs who wanted to blast a chlorine tank in Donezk – probably manipulated https://correctiv.org/faktencheck/2022/02/23/ukraine-video-angeblicher-saboteure-die-einen-anschlag-in-der-region-donezk-planten-ist-laut-metadaten-manipuliert/
24.02.2022 Greece, Ellinika Hoaxes, No, this video does not show an F-22 Raptor engaging an anti-aircraft defense system in Ukraine https://www.ellinikahoaxes.gr/2022/02/24/video-on-facebook-shows-f22-fighting-ukraine-anti-aircraft-weapon-system-fake/
24.02.2022 France, AFP Factuel Beware of this video claiming to show Russian planes in the Ukrainian sky https://factuel.afp.com/doc.afp.com.323U2KR
24.02.2022 France, AFP Factuel This video shows missiles targeting Israel in 2021, not Russian fire against Ukraine https://factuel.afp.com/doc.afp.com.323U3J8
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, Biden does not claim in this video that the US would attack Russia for invading Ukraine: the subtitles are false https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/biden-eeuu-ataque-rusia-ucrania/
24.02.2022 Spain, Maldita No, this video is not of the destruction of Russian military equipment by the Ukrainian Army: it was filmed in 2020 in Syria https://maldita.es/malditobulo/20220224/no-este-video-no-es-de-la-destruccion-de-equipamiento-militar-ruso-por-parte-del-ejercito-ucraniano-se-grabo-el-2020-en-siria/
24.02.2022 Italy, Facta News Russia-Ukraine, Tg2 broadcasted a videogame and an old parade as videos of the current situation https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/24/no-questo-video-non-mostra-i-primi-attacchi-russi-in-ucraina/
24.02.2022 Italy, Facta News Video shows lightning not Russia invasion of Ukraine https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/24/russia-ucraina-nel-suo-servizio-il-tg2-ha-trasmesso-un-videogioco-e-una-parata-del-2020/
24.02.2022 Germany, Correctiv Russian ministry of defense said they are not attacking Ukrainian cities, no danger for civilians – several reports e.g. from the cities Uman and Chuhuiv are evidence of the opposite https://correctiv.org/faktencheck/2022/02/24/doch-die-russischen-angriffe-bedrohen-auch-ukrainische-zivilisten-und-staedte/
24.02.2022 Italy, Facta News This picture with a Russian flag it’s not about the ongoing attack, it’s from 2014 https://facta.news/fuori-contesto/2022/02/24/questa-foto-non-centra-con-lattacco-russo-allucraina-e-del-2014/

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