Fact Check: 'Ukraine Elite Drone' Footage Does NOT Show Bakhmut Combat On April 1, 2023

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: 'Ukraine Elite Drone' Footage Does NOT Show Bakhmut Combat On April 1, 2023 Compilation

Does a video, published on social media, show "44 Russian Tanks" hit in a "Bakhmut trench" by a single "Ukraine elite Drone" on April 1, 2023? No, that's not true: The same account posted multiple items in which the narrator mispronounced the name of the city being fought over, making similar claims that contradict each other in key details and re-using war footage compilations without citing any primary sources.

The clip was published on Facebook on April 2, 2023, under the title:

Today(Apr 1)Ukraine elite Drone hit 44 Russian Tanks in Minutes at terrible ambush in Bakhmut trench

This is what it looked like at the time of writing:

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 11.00.56 AM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 14:45:49 2023 UTC)

The narrator mispronounced the name of the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, known for a prolonged battle between Russian and Ukrainian forces, as "Bar-MOOT."

Different variations of the claim posted within a four-day timeframe attributed the purported event to different dates and discussed a different number of the allegedly destroyed tanks, for example, here and here:

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 1.20.45 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 17:20:45 2023 UTC)

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 12.17.54 PM.png

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 14:58:34 2023 UTC)

The Facebook page appears to have taken advantage of SEO-optimization techniques to increase viewership for each of these videos.

According to the Page Transparency tab, the account created on December 22, 2022, described itself as a "media company," but its name, location and contact information were missing.

Sikafour, another page tagged in these posts, was launched on September 22, 2022. It was managed from Indonesia.

Both accounts carried clickbait war video content without clear sourcing.

Such clips circulated not only on Facebook. Examples of the same claim could be found on YouTube, too, for example, here:

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 1.37.48 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 17:37:48 2023 UTC)

This YouTube channel's logo appears during the first seconds of the initial video in question. As the account's overview shows, it has a history of posting similar claims paired with identical or nearly identical thumbnails. Many of those clips repeated the same key words: "today," "Ukraine" and "elite."

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 3.39.38 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 19:39:38 2023 UTC)

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 3.40.04 PM.png

(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 19:40:04 2023 UTC)

While the YouTube account listed its location as the United States, it did not provide any information about the team behind it or its sources either.

Using the InVid keyframe analysis tool, Lead Stories compared the videos purportedly showing two attacks of the "unique" drone on April 3, 2023: one destroying "66 column Russian tanks", another -- "44 Russian tanks". Despite the widely different claims of numbers of tanks destroyed in two attacks, the clips reused some of the same frames:

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 4.51.14 PM.png

(Source: Invid screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 20:51:14 2023 UTC)

Screen Shot 2023-04-03 at 5.08.03 PM.png

(Source: Invid screenshot taken on Mon Apr 3 21:08:03 2023 UTC)

The same channel claimed that not the drone, but the "Ukraine Troop" destroyed the exact same number of Russian tanks - 44 - on March 31, 2023.

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

Want to inform others about the accuracy of this story?

See who is sharing it (it might even be your friends...) and leave the link in the comments.:


  Uliana Malashenko

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

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

About us

International Fact-Checking Organization Meta Third-Party Fact Checker

Lead Stories is a U.S. based fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, misleading, deceptive or inaccurate stories, videos or images going viral on the internet.
Spotted something? Let us know!.

Lead Stories is a:


Follow us on social media
@leadstories

Subscribe to our newsletter

* indicates required

Please select all the ways you would like to hear from Lead Stories LLC:

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. For information about our privacy practices, please visit our website.

We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By clicking below to subscribe, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing. Learn more about Mailchimp's privacy practices here.

Most Read

Most Recent

Share your opinion