Footage is a compilation of different videos, it does not show 20,000 foreign volunteers in Ukraine
A video showing military vehicles loaded with weapons has been viewed more than 600,000 times on Facebook, alongside claims that it shows volunteers and British troops arriving in Ukraine. While there are indeed foreign volunteers, including former British soldiers, in Ukraine to battle Russia, this video is misleading. AFP Fact Check found that the footage is a compilation of three different videos, two of which were taken in Poland and Estonia, and the last one shows Russian forces in Kyiv -- not British soldiers or volunteers as claimed.
The video posted on Facebook was shared with the caption, “20 Thousand foreign volunteers! Former British soldiers arrived in Ukraine (sic)”.
Although some 20,000 international volunteers have indeed travelled to Ukraine to fight Russian troops, as AFP reported here, the video is not about them.
The opening scene shows a convoy of heavy military trucks transporting armoured tanks. The next scene features a white man dressed in military fatigues speaking with another person who is out of frame. Their conversation has been muted and replaced by an automated voice, which says “soldiers and volunteers” have arrived in Ukraine.
The final scene shows military trucks and armoured vehicles marked “V” slowly crossing a small bridge.
The post with the video links to an article on Newsreal, a pro-Israeli news website covering issues in Iran, persecution of Jews and global issues relating to Israel. The robotic voice-over in the video is a direct dictation of the article.
Footage from Poland, Estonia
AFP Fact Check analysed the footage using video verification tool WeVerify and found that it is made up of three separate videos. Reverse image searches of various video keyframes lead us to the original videos and their respective contexts.
The opening scene shows British troops arriving in Estonia to reinforce the NATO member state. At a NATO press conference held on March 1, 2022, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the presence of British soldiers in Estonia and promised NATO reinforcements in the region. A video published by Independent UK and The Sun shows more British troops arriving Estonia after the presser. The soldiers are “part of a Nato mission to strengthen the alliance's eastern flank after Russia's invasion of Ukraine,” according to Independent UK. They came in with “military lorries and flatbed trucks carrying tanks” after the UK announced it would double the size of British forces in Estonia.
The voiceover claims that another scene in the video shows a former British soldier leaving the UK for Ukraine. In reality, the video stems from an interview by The Sun with a British war hero heading to Ukraine. According to The Sun, the video was recorded in Medyka, Poland -- not Ukraine.
Russian Forces in Ukraine
The final scene of the misleading video shows Russian troops entering Kyiv, not British soldiers in the region. The original video was uploaded to YouTube by the Russian Ministry of Defence on March 3, 2022.
According to the ministry, the video shows the “promotion of units of the RF Armed Forces as part of a special military operation” in the Kyiv region.
On February 24, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an invasion of Ukraine. Since the war began, more than three million people have fled Ukraine, according to UN figures.