Old video of Russian tank toppling over at military parade resurfaces in Ukraine war posts

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An old video of a Russian tank toppling over at a military parade has been viewed tens of thousands of times in posts that misleadingly claim the driver who overturned the vehicle subsequently avoided being sent to the front line in the war against Ukraine. The clip -- which recirculated shortly after a military parade in Moscow in May 2023 -- corresponds with media reports from 2018 about an accident at another event in the western Russian city of Kursk.

The 11-second clip was shared on Twitter on May 10, 2023, where it was retweeted more than 300 times.

It shows a tank attempting to drive up onto the back of another vehicle before sliding off the side and toppling over.

The post's simplified-Chinese caption appears to mock the clumsy actions of the Russian tank driver.

It reads in English: "Why is no one sharing this? This T34 would have been dragged to the Ukrainian front line after the exhibition, then this scene happened -- Russians call it 'playing dead'."

The hashtag translates as "Latest news from Ukraine".

Screenshot of the misleading post taken on May 17, 2023

The posts circulated one day after Russia celebrated Victory Day, marking the Soviet Union's victory over Nazi Germany with a grand parade in Moscow -- an event that this year was overshadowed by military setbacks in Ukraine (archived link).

Russian President Vladimir Putin nonetheless vowed his country would be victorious in Ukraine and blamed Western countries for the conflict (archived link).

Similar misleading posts in Chinese and English shared the video on Twitter, Weibo, YouTube and Facebook.

The video has in fact circulated since 2018. AFP found no official reports about a tank toppling over at the 2023 parade in Moscow.

Kursk parade

A Google reverse image search found the clip in the misleading posts corresponds to a longer video published on YouTube on August 23, 2018 (archived link).

The Russian-language title reads: "A T-34 tank fell in Kursk".

Kursk is a city located in western Russia, about 525 kilometres (326 miles) from Moscow (archived link).

The video's description translates as: "There is profanity, I apologise of course for this !!! it's emotions. it was a parade of military equipment dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the defeat of the German troops !!!

"Battle of Kursk (July 5, 1943 - August 23, 1943, also known as the Battle of the Kursk Bulge) Please do not unleash national differences !!!! let's live together !!!!"

The Battle of Kursk took place in the summer of 1943 near Kursk and ended with a Soviet victory over Nazi Germany after the largest tank battle in history (archived link).

The clip from the misleading posts can be seen from the YouTube video's 23-second mark.

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading posts (left) and the 2018 YouTube video (right):

A screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the 2018 YouTube video (right).

The moment the tank toppled over can be seen from a different angle in a similar video posted on the verified Facebook page of US broadcaster ABC News on August 24, 2018 (archived link).

The video is captioned: "LOOK OUT BELOW: A Russian tank topples over as it tries to mount a transport trailer following a military parade in commemorating the World War II Battle of Kursk on Thursday."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the video in the ABC News report (right) with similarities marked by AFP:

A screenshot comparison of the video in the misleading post (left) and the video in the ABC news report (right) with similarities circled by AFP. 

Russian state-owned media TASS reported on August 23, 2018 that the T-34 tank "rolled off the platform and capsized while being loaded on a trailer" at 12.10 on August 23 (archived link).

Ukraine-Russia conflict