This video shows an explosion in Beirut in 2020, not Russian strikes on Ukraine in 2022

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After Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, dramatic footage of a huge explosion was viewed tens of thousands of times in social media posts that claimed it shows buildings destroyed by Russian air strikes. In fact, the video shows a deadly blast that ripped through the Lebanese capital Beirut in August 2020.

The 30-second video was shared in this tweet posted on February 24, 2022.

It shows smoke rising from buildings in the distance before a sudden blast produces a massive orange fireball in the sky.

"Live broadcast of the battle in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine," reads the post's simplified Chinese-language caption.

Screenshot of a tweet sharing the false claim, taken on February 24, 2022

Russian missiles and shelling rained down on Ukrainian cities on February 24 after President Vladimir Putain unleashed a full-scale ground invasion and air assault, forcing civilians to shelter and displacing 100,000 people.

Invading Russian forces later pressed deep into Ukraine as deadly battles reached the outskirts of Kyiv and the West responded with punishing sanctions.

The video was viewed more than 30,000 times in similar tweets here, here, and here.

However, the footage has been shared in a false context. It actually shows the cataclysmic Beirut port blast in 2020.

Reverse image and keyword searches found a corresponding YouTube video from August 5, 2020 uploaded by US broadcaster CBS.

The video is titled: "Blast of highly explosive material kills dozens, injures thousands in Beirut, Lebanon".

Below are screenshot comparisons of the video shared in false posts (left) and CBS's video (right):

Screenshot comparisons of the video shared in false posts (left) and CBS's video (right)

Two massive explosions erupted in Beirut's port on August 4, 2020, levelling entire neighbourhoods. The blasts killed more than 200 people and wounded 6,500 others, AFP reported here.

The same location can be seen here on Google Maps:

The footage was published in news reports about the explosions in Beirut by various broadcasters, including by UK newspaper The Guardian, which credited the footage to Sondoss al-Asaad.

Following the explosions, AFP published footage of smoke billowing above buildings in the same location here.

Ukraine conflict