Fact Check: Moscow Aerial Video NOT Captured By Ukrainian Drones In April 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Moscow Aerial Video NOT Captured By Ukrainian Drones In April 2023 2015 VR Video

Does a video authentically show footage captured by a Ukrainian drone flying over Moscow in April 2023? No, that's not true: The video shared on Twitter was originally posted to YouTube in 2015 by AirPano, a virtual reality production studio "focused on taking high-resolution" aerial footage. In 2023, an 11-second clip of that video was cropped from a horizontal shape to a square, played in reverse and overlaid with a filter to suggest that it was authentic drone footage over Russia's capital city.

The claim originated in a video (archived here) posted to Twitter on April 24, 2023. A caption with the video read:

Hello Moscow, how are you doing ?

Soon ....

Below is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

image (8).png

(Source: Twitter screenshot captured Tue April 25 04:39:00 2023 UTC)

The original poster of the above video implies that it depicts Ukrainian drone forces over Moscow in April 2023 to suggest there may be a foreign enemy presence in the capital city.

On closer inspection, it is apparent that the video shared on Twitter was clipped from a four-minute 49-second video posted to YouTube by virtual reality production company AirPano VR on October 12, 2015, titled, "360° Moscow Kremlin. 4К aerial video." The caption reads:

AirPano team with the support of the Russian Geographic Society presents the 360 video of historic-architectural ensemble of Moscow Kremlin. Domes of Cathedral Square, the Tsar Cannon, Ivan the Great Belltower and the Saviour Tower -- it's not a full list of Kremlin's sights, which you will see in our video

An 11-second clip of the 2015 video was then cropped, played in reverse and overlaid with a filter to suggest that it was authentic drone footage.

Lead Stories contacted AirPano VR for comment. Sergey Semenov of Airpano VR confirmed to Lead Stories in an email received on April 27, 2023, that the video in the social media post was edited from his original footage.

"It is our video and it was shot more than eight years ago as part of our travel project about the most beautiful places on our planet," said Semenov. "Moreover, since that time one of the quite large buildings inside the Kremlin was removed and the area looks a bit different now."

The below side-by-side screenshots show the authentic video shared to YouTube at the 2:21 mark (left) compared to the altered video taken at the six-second mark (right):

Screen Shot 2023-04-26 at 4.27.41 PM.png

(Source: Screenshot compilation taken Wed April 26 22:27:41 UTC 2023)

Another such example shows a screenshot from the authentic video (left) captured at the 2:42 mark compared to a screenshot of the altered video posted to Twitter at the three-second mark (right):

Screen Shot 2023-04-26 at 4.27.49 PM.png

(Source: Screenshot compilation taken Wed April 26 22:27:49 UTC 2023)

Lead Stories has also reported that a video does not show a Russian fighter jet intercepting U.S. Navy aircraft in April 2023, that a poster does not show an authentic recruiting campaign launched by Ukraine in the U.S. to target low-income populations and that a photo does not show a Russian "retaliation strike" on secret NATO bunker.

Other Lead Stories fact checks about the war in Ukraine can be found here.

Updates:

  • 2023-04-27T17:20:28Z 2023-04-27T17:20:28Z
    Adds comment from official of the company that produced the original video.

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  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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