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Fact-checking footage claiming to show recent attack on Russian warship Moskva

The VERIFY team analyzed two videos claiming to show an attack on Russian warship Moskva. Here is how we know those videos weren’t taken in 2022.
Credit: Screenshot/VERIFY

A Russian warship sank on April 14, one day after Ukraine said its forces launched an attack off the coast of Ukrainian port city Odessa in the Black Sea. The Moskva, a guided-missile cruiser, was the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet and had the capacity to carry 16 long-range cruise missiles.

Ukrainian officials said their forces hit the Moskva with missiles, and following the attack, Russia acknowledged the ship was on fire, but denied claims the ship had been attacked. The Russian Defense Ministry later said the ship sank in a storm while being towed to a port. 

After the ship sank on April 14, videos and images appeared on social media claiming to show the exact moment Ukraine’s missiles allegedly hit the Russian warship. 

This video claims to show the ship being attacked through the lens of night-vision goggles. The video has more than 300,000 views on YouTube. 

Another video shows a ship completely engulfed in flames, with black smoke billowing from the sea. At the time of publication, the video was still on Twitter and had over 182,000 views.

THE QUESTION

Do those videos show the attack on the Moskva?

THE SOURCES

THE ANSWER

This is false.

No, those videos do not show the attack on the Moskva. 

The video claiming to show the Moskva through night vision goggles is doctored footage from a ship fire in 2019. 

The video showing a ship in flames is a Norwegian navy missile strike test from 2013.

WHAT WE FOUND

The YouTube video appearing to show the Moskva has a green filter applied to make it look like the footage was filmed through night vision goggles. But, using reverse image searches VERIFY was able to trace the video to an Associated Press report from 2019. The viral video was doctored from its original form.

According to the Associated Press report from 2019, two Tanzanian vessels caught fire in the Black Sea while fuel was being pumped from one vessel to the other. The report included a photo from the ship fire credited to Russian radio station Kerch.fm. This photo matched what can be seen in the footage claiming to show the Moskva.

A video posted by CCTV, China’s state-owned news agency, also shows the same Tanzanian ships on fire. The video was posted in 2019. 

The doctored footage posted on April 13, 2022, claiming to show the Moskva is a manipulated version of the video CCTV posted, flipped to appear as though the ship on fire is pointing in a different direction. A green filter was also added to give the impression that the video was taken through the lens of night vision goggles.

This graphic shows how this doctored video originates from a 2019 clip of Tanzanian boats on fire. It is not from 2022 and does not show the Moskva.

Credit: VERIFY

The second video VERIFY analyzed claims that a ship engulfed in flames with billowing black smoke is the Moskva. 

Credit: Screenshot/Twitter

The video claiming to show the Moskva is actually a clip taken from a full video posted in June 2013 that shows the Norwegian Navy testing out its missile system on one of its own ships. VERIFY was able to trace the video using a reverse image search.

The full video from the 2013 Norwegian missile testing was posted to Military.com and also to the YouTube channel of SWNS, a British news agency. The videos were both posted on June 6, 2013.

According to the Military.com article, the video shows the bombing of the Norwegian ship KNM Trondheim. A subsonic missile hits the side of the ship, causing it to erupt into a massive fireball, the article said. 

At 39 seconds in the original footage from 2013, the ship can be seen from afar being hit by a missile, resulting in the large explosion. That matches the clip claiming to show the Moskva explosion.

We can VERIFY this footage was posted in 2013 and does not show the Moskva being hit by a missile in 2022.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

The VERIFY team works to separate fact from fiction so that you can understand what is true and false. Please consider subscribing to our daily newsletter, text alerts and our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. Learn More »

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