Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Ukrainian Citizens Destroying Russian Tanks With Molotov Cocktails In Kyiv

Fact Check

  • by: Ed Payne
Fact Check: Video Does NOT Show Ukrainian Citizens Destroying Russian Tanks With Molotov Cocktails In Kyiv Ukraine 2014

Does a Facebook video show Ukrainian citizens destroying Russian tanks with Molotov cocktails in the capital city of Kyiv? No, that's not true: Instead of being from the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, the minute-long video shows anti-government protests from 2014. The armored personnel carriers (APC) that were set on fire belonged to riot police. Known as Kyiv in Ukraine, the Russians call the city Kiev.

The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) on February 26, 2022. It opened:

Ukrainian citizens destroy 2 Russian tanks with molotov cocktails in Kiev

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on February 28, 2022::

Screenshot 2022-02-28 164926.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Feb 28 21:10:24 2022 UTC)

The fiery confrontation took place during Euromaidan, a wave of demonstrations and civil unrest in Ukraine that began in November 2013 and continued to February 2014. The Facebook video is one of many on social media showing a hail of Molotov cocktails raining down on Ukrainian riot police, not Russian forces. At least two other videos Lead Stories was able to find portray the same encounter from other angles. This one (archived here) titled "Protesters burned APC using molotov cocktails (ukraine)(Maidan Nezalezhnosti)" was posted to YouTube on February 20, 2014:

Another video posted to YouTube in Russian shows an APC buried under a flaming shower of Molotov cocktails. This video (archived here) is titled "КОКТЕЙЛИ МОЛОТОВА ЛЕТЯТ В БТР НА МАЙДАНЕ [MOLOTOV COCKTAILS ARE FLYING INTO APCS ON THE MAIDAN]" and was also published on February 20, 2014:

A pair of still images -- one from the Facebook video and one from the first YouTube video -- show similar street scenes, although not at the identical moment. The same five storefronts can be seen in both images. This is from about 10 seconds into the Facebook video claiming to be from February 2022:

Ukraine Share FB.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Feb 28 23:16:44 2022 UTC)

This image is from about 45 seconds into the "Protesters burned APC using molotov cocktails (ukraine)(Maidan Nezalezhnosti)" YouTube video from 2014:

Ukraine Share YouTube.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Feb 28 23:22:16 2022 UTC)

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  Ed Payne

Ed Payne is a staff writer at Lead Stories. He is an Emmy Award-winning journalist as part of CNN’s coverage of 9/11. Ed worked at CNN for nearly 24 years with the CNN Radio Network and CNN Digital. Most recently, he was a Digital Senior Producer for Gray Television’s Digital Content Center, the company’s digital news hub for 100+ TV stations. Ed also worked as a writer and editor for WebMD. In addition to his journalistic endeavors, Ed is the author of two children’s book series: “The Daily Rounds of a Hound” and “Vail’s Tales.” 

Read more about or contact Ed Payne

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