Fact Check: This Video Does NOT Show Ukraine's Navy Artillery Destroying 13 Russian Warships In The Black Sea

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: This Video Does NOT Show Ukraine's Navy Artillery Destroying 13 Russian Warships In The Black Sea Old Footage

Does a Facebook video show the Ukrainian navy destroying "13 Russian warships in the Black Sea"? No, that's not true: The clip recycles old unrelated footage of Russian -- not Ukrainian -- ships in action. More importantly, the video never discusses the 13 "destroyed" ships mentioned in the caption -- the narrator only says that those are "on high alert."

The claim originated in a Facebook video published on August 11, 2022. The caption, however, referred to the events that supposedly happened the next day:

BRUTAL ATTACK (Aug 12) Ukraine Navy Artillery Destroys 13 Russian Warships in Black sea

The clip opened with a sentence appearing on the screen, accompanied by the sounds of a typewriter:


At the 00:21 mark, a male voice began the narration:

Four Russian ships with 24-caliber missiles on alert in the Black Sea. Thirteen Russian ships are on alert in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Mediterranean Sea as of August 7, 2022.

At the 1:57 mark, the voiceover continued:

As reported, the marine units and artillery units of the Ukrainian naval forces eliminated 30 Russian soldiers, command post, TOR missile system, two tanks, two artillery systems, ammunition depot and other weapons over the past day.

Here is how the video appeared on Facebook at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 4.19.37 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 20:19:37 2022 UTC)

But the video never mentions the purported battle described in the caption. The claim contradicts itself in other respects, too: It does not show Ukraine's navy in action -- instead, the part of the clip discussing maritime war activities consists of Russian Ministry of Defense archival footage depicting Russian ships firing missiles, as indicated in the source line, partially written in Russian:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 11.33.20 PM.png

(Sources: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 03:25:31 2022 UTC; composite image by Lead Stories)

Many of these shots were taken long before the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine.

For example, this image appears at the 00:29 mark:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 11.39.13 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 03:39:13 2022 UTC)

However, the same shot was used to illustrate an article about Russia's military exercise that took place in the summer of 2020:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 3.03.30 PM.png

(Source: Iranpress.com screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 19:03:30 2022 UTC)

Here is another image that allegedly captures a scene in the Black Sea in August 2022:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 11.49.01 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 03:49:01 2022 UTC)

But the recognizable red flag doesn't match either Russian or Ukrainian flags. Instead of the Black Sea, this image shows the 2021 Russian-Chinese joint naval exercise in the Sea of Japan, as reported by the Times:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 3.21.08 PM.png(Source: Thetimes.co.uk screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 19:21:08 2022 UTC)

A missile launch scene that appears at the 1:47 mark also wasn't shot in 2022:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 3.46.08 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 19:44:30 2022 UTC)

The same image illustrated a 2018 article published by TASS, a Russian state-run news agency:

Screen Shot 2022-08-17 at 3.44.30 PM.png

(Source: Tass.com screenshot taken on Wed Aug 17 19:44:30 2022 UTC)

Other Lead Stories fact checks related to the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict can be found here.

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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