Old video shows Angolan troops celebrating holiday in Siberia, not Ghanaians joining Russian army

Amid media reports about Moscow recruiting Africans to fight on the front lines in Ukraine, a video emerged online alongside a claim that it shows a group of Ghanaians enlisting in the Russian military. But this is false; the clip shows Angolan soldiers taking part in a holiday celebration in Russia in 2018. 

The video has been shared more than 5,900 times on TikTok since it was posted on April 8, 2024.

Screenshot showing the false post, taken on April 25, 2024

“Huge group of Africans joined the Russian army,” reads a text overlay.

Also overlaid on the footage is a man in a yellow shirt offering his commentary. 

“Ghanaians are joining the Russian army, Ghanaians are joining the Russian army. Can you imagine? These are Ghanaians…” he says in the clip.

The video shows two groups of people in military attire positioned on opposite sides of a parade ground. One group comprises white troops wearing dark green uniforms with white belts, standing to attention, while the other consists of black troops in camo print uniforms, marching in unison and singing.

However, the video does not show Ghanaians enlisting in the Russian military.

Angolan troops

The first clue that these men are not from Ghana, nor part of the Russian army, is on their uniforms.

The flag of Angola – black and red with a yellow emblem in the middle – is visible on their jacket pockets. 

The group’s leader, who marches out in front, also holds a large Angolan flag.  

Screenshot showing the red and black Angola flag with a yellow emblem of a machete, a star, and half of a cogwheel

The Ghanaian flag has red, yellow and green horizontal bands with a black star in the centre.

Using the video verification tool InVID-WeVerify, we conducted a reverse image search on keyframes from the footage. 

This led us to several articles on both English and Russian-language news sites that carried the same video back in 2018 (here and here). 

The articles explain that the video shows cadets from the Angolan army who were studying at a military college in Omsk, in the Russian province of Siberia, as they participated in a celebration for Russia’s annual Defender of the Fatherland Day. 

This holiday is observed every February 23 to celebrate Russia’s armed forces. 

A longer version of the footage was also shared in this Russian-language article (archived here).

The story about the Angolan cadets participating in the celebrations in Omsk was widely covered by Russian-language news sites, such as here (archived here).

Russia-Angola ties

Oil-rich Angola has long maintained close ties with Russia (archived here). The Soviet Union supported its ruling party in the civil war against US-backed rebels.

But under the leadership of President João Lourenço, who was elected into office in 2017, the country has strengthened its ties with the United States.

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