A video being shared online shows Finland moving tanks to a planned military exercise in the west of the country, not towards its border with Russia in the east, as has been claimed on social media.
The footage was posted on Twitter (here), where it has amassed more than 2,700 views, alongside the caption: “Per report #Finland has begun moving military equipments presumably towards Russian border, following the pending decision to join #NATO. Visual from social media.”
It shows a freight train carrying dozens of tanks across a bridge through a Finnish city.
Other versions of the clip can be found on Twitter (here, here and here), YouTube (here and here) and Facebook (here, here, here, here, here, here and here), where it has been viewed millions of times.
It comes amid rising tensions between Moscow and Helsinki (here) after the former’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland has reportedly now decided to apply for NATO membership (here).
However, the Finnish Defence Forces said the claim about tanks being moved to the Russian border was “not true” and that they were being deployed to a military exercise in the west.
A tweet on its verified Twitter account reads (here) : “A video has been circulating online claiming to show tanks being moved to Finland's borders. This is not true. The tanks were being moved to the army mechanised exercise Arrow 22. The exercise takes place in Niinisalo and Säkylä.”
More information about the Arrow 22 exercise can be found here .
Reuters geolocated the video (bit.ly/3w9PEmc and bit.ly/3LPEYQe) and found that it had been filmed in the south-western city of Tampere.
Geolocation of the video and the train’s movements reveal it was travelling from east to west – therefore travelling away from the Finland-Russia border.
The village of Niinisalo lies west of Tampere (bit.ly/3vNF05U), as does the municipality of Säkylä (bit.ly/3FjrQAC), which supports the defence forces’ statement.
Colonel Rainer Kuosmanen, commander of Finland’s Armoured Brigade, posted photos of the tanks on his Twitter account on May 2 (here) alongside the caption: “#ARROW22 begins today. The troops of the Armoured Brigade traditionally transfer to training by train. In the evening, these carriages are already in their grouping area in Pohjankangas.”
Misleading. The tanks were being transferred to western Finland for a military exercise, not to the east where the country borders Russia.
This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .
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