Fact Check-No evidence Danish Navy opened fire on Russian warships

Reports on social media wrongly cited Reuters to claim that Danish navy vessels opened fire on Russian warships that had entered their territory. Reuters did not report this, and Danish authorities deny claims that shots were fired.

A video that was shared on social media with the description ““Attack on Russian Warships! The Danish Navy Opened Fire as Russian Warships Entered Territorial Sea” features a clip that falsely says Reuters reported that Danish vessels had fired on a Russian warship, and which includes fabricated quotes from the Danish Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defence ( here ).

The clip was viewed more than 247,000 times on YouTube ( here ) ) and more than 121,000 times on Facebook ( here).

Some details recounted in the video did mirror a story reported by Reuters: The Danish Armed Forces said a Russian warship twice violated Danish territorial waters early on June 17 north of the Baltic Sea island of Bornholm, where a democracy festival attended by senior officials and business people was taking place ( nS8N2UZ08Q ).

Denmark called the action an unacceptable provocation. The Russian embassy in Copenhagen said the Danes had provided no evidence of what happened.

The Russian warship entered Danish waters without authorization at 0030 GMT and again a few hours later, leaving after the Danish navy established contact via a civilian radio channel, the armed forces said in a statement ( here ).

The statement did not mention rounds being fired and Reuters did not report they had been.

The Russian embassy in Copenhagen said: “No evidence of what happened, including the coordinates of the alleged crossing of the Danish maritime border by the ship, was presented” when the Ambassador was called to the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs over the “alleged” incident ( ).

A voiceover in the social media video, which appears to be made by a text-to-speech synthetic voice, says: “Danish Defence Minister Morten Bødskov, quoted on Reuters: ‘the Russian threat was immediately suppressed by us by a gruesome gunfire warning’” [sic] (Timestamp 4.00 here ).

“No, that is not true - nothing was fired,” said Karen Clement, head of press for the Danish Department of Defence told Reuters by email. “The Facebook post is fake news.”

No such quote appeared in the Reuters article on this story ( nS8N2UZ08Q ).

The voiceover also quoted Danish Minister of Foreign Affairs Jeppe Kofod as saying: “Russian warships had to leave when we delivered signals and opened fire warnings. Our navy is ready to sink all the invaders in our sights.” (timestamp 3.10 here).

“It is not true”, Sissel Christine Søe Böss, Acting Head of Press to the Minister for Foreign Affairs said of the video. “Your (Reuters) previous reporting describes the incident that happened correctly and has the correct quotes from both Danish ministers”.


False. A video on Facebook falsely cites Reuters and Danish ministers to claim that Danish vessels had fired upon a Russian warship on June 17. Russian authorities said they are awaiting proof that such an incident occurred, and Danish authorities said that no shots were fired.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our work to fact-check social media posts here .