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Fact Check-Video of queues at Russia-Finland border was taken more than three weeks before Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilisation announcement

A video of a queue at the Russia-Finland border has been mistakenly presented by social media users to show Russians fleeing their country after President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial military mobilisation to fight in Ukraine.

The Russian president made the announcement on Sept. 21, marking the nation’s first mobilisation since World War Two amid a major battlefield reversal in Ukraine.(here ).

Shortly after the announcement, a Twitter user posted a video of a long queue of cars, suggesting it showed Russians trying to escape to Finland to avoid conscription.

“#Breaking: just in - The traffic jam at the border with #Russia/#Finland has pilled (sic) up to 35KM and is rising by the hour, it is the only border who (sic) is still open for Russian civilians with shengen visas, after #Putin announced he will send 300.000 new troops to #Ukraine,” the tweet accompanying the video reads (here ).

Another user shared the same footage with the caption: “Border btw #Russia - #Finland after #Putin"s partial #mobilization” (here ).

The video was also uploaded on Facebook (here ).

However, Reuters Fact Check has found the video predates Putin’s announcement. It was first published online on Sept. 19 by a Finnish-Russian social media influencer called ‘Igor in Russia’ (here ) and TikTok (here ).

Reuters Fact Check contacted Igor who said via email that he filmed the video on Aug. 29. He also provided the raw video file which included metadata confirming the date, as well as a screenshot from his phone showing the tagged location as Vaalimaa, the border crossing.

The video “was released before announcements and was just depicting the quite typical line at the border,” the video creator told Reuters. He gave further context in a video posted to YouTube. (here).

Both the director of Finland’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs and the Finnish Border Guard said on Sept. 21 that the situation at the Russia-Finland border was no different since Putin’s announcement, though this has now changed. (here ) , (here ).

Border guards said on Sept. 23 that the number of Russians who had entered the previous day was double the amount who arrived the week before. (here).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. Video showing lines at Russia Finland border predates Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial mobilisation to fight in Ukraine.

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

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