Fact Check-Fake BBC News broadcast claiming that nuclear war is imminent between Russia and NATO recirculates

BBC News did not air a segment claiming that nuclear war is imminent between Russia and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). A clip purporting to show an authentic BBC News segment is fake and was previously addressed by the news outlet when the fake video circulated in 2018.

The clip opens with a view of what appears to be the BBC office. The BBC logo is viewable on the bottom left corner of the video.

The presenter is heard saying: “Welcome to the BBC news desk. We have breaking news of a serious incident between Russia and NATO forces near the coast of Latvia. Although the details are uncertain, early reports indicate that a Russian surveillance aircraft was fired upon by naval vessels of NATO forces.”

The clip then claims that the queen has been evacuated from Buckingham Palace and that “thermonuclear bombs of undetermined strength have exploded at NATO regional military headquarters in Brussels”.

The video concludes with a slide that reads: “Emergency broadcast. Nuclear attack warning. Severity: Extreme. Known threat: Nuclear air attack. Certainty: High. Seek shelter immediately.”

One user shared the video on Facebook on Jan. 20, 2022, with a caption that reads: “Breaking News British National Emergency 20/01/22 Imminent Nuclear Attack Watch video below” (here). The clip had over 1,100 shares at the time of writing.

One user who shared the post said: “Britain government evacuate It's citizens as Russia attack Britain with nuclear weapon (sic)” (here).

Other examples of the fake broadcast circulating online can be seen (here), (here), (here), (here) and (here).

The clip is not authentic, however, and has previously been addressed by BBC News, who tweeted in 2018 to say that the video is “fake and does not come from the BBC” (here).

The BBC also wrote an article at the time, clarifying that no such report was aired by the network. The BBC spoke to the actor featured in the clip who said that the video was made “as a psychometric test for their clients to see how they'd react in a disaster scenario” (here).

Reuters previously addressed fake news reports circulating online (here), (here), (here).


False. BBC News did not report that nuclear war between NATO and Russian forces is imminent. The clip is fake and was debunked by the outlet when it first circulated online in 2018.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .