STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Does a viral video show 8,500 U.S. troops headed to Ukraine? No, that's not true: The video shows paratroopers on a regular day of training, according to a spokesperson with the Fort Bragg Public Relations Office. Although they could not say exactly when the video was shot, it predates by almost one month the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine. Another claim that soldiers with the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division, based at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, were deployed to Ukraine is also false.
The video appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on February 24, 2022. Alongside a caption that asked "WHAT'S REALLY GOING ON??????" the short video showed paratroopers readying to get on aircraft. Text on top of the video read:
Our 8500 Headed to Ukraine!
This is what the post looked like on Facebook at the time of writing:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Feb 25 18:47:21 2022 UTC)
The video is a copy of one posted on TikTok on January 29, 2022, by us4kiings. That video, in turn, appears to be a copy of one posted on TikTok on January 25, 2022, by gaok22. The main difference between the two TikTok videos is the addition of the incorrect caption: "Our 8500 Headed to Ukraine!"
Although it's true that the United States has deployed thousands of troops to countries near Ukraine, including Poland and Germany, the United States has not sent troops to Ukraine, and President Joe Biden has said that he will not send troops there. Furthermore, the Facebook video does not show those deployments.
Lead Stories reached out to the Fort Bragg Public Relations Office to ask about the video's claim. Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, is home of the 82nd Airborne Division and is one of the largest military complexes in the world, with some 57,000 military personnel and 11,000 civilian employees. In an email, dated February 25, 2022, a spokesperson responded:
These paratroopers are preparing to get on an aircraft on a regular day of training at Fort Bragg, NC for an airborne operation. I am unable to see the unit they are with, but it can be assumed the majority are from 82nd Airborne Division.
The spokesperson was not sure of the date the footage was shot, but it's clear -- based on the TikTok posts -- that it predates the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24, 2022.
There is also a claim that 101st Airborne troops were also sent to Ukraine:
Kentucky's 101st Airborne on their way to Ukraine. Prayers for allWe need to wrap them in our prayers! Prayers for all of our men and women going!
While 101st AIrborne troops are among the 7,000 deployed to Poland and other areas near Ukraine, President Biden has said he would not send American soldiers into Ukraine.
2022-02-26T04:08:42Z 2022-02-26T04:08:42ZAdding details about false claim that 101st Airborne troops were sent to Ukraine.