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Fact Check-Video purporting to show Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile targeting Ukrainian weapons depot was created by visual effects artist

A video that social media users have claimed shows a Russian hypersonic Kinzhal missile destroying a Ukrainian weapons depot underground was created using video editing software.

The clip opens with a view of a field in a remote area, with a bright flash of light followed by an explosion occurring after two seconds.

A Twitter user shared the clip with a caption that reads: “A Russian Kinzhal missile at 12,000 kilometers per hour, 10 times faster than sound, was used today to destroy a Ukrainian weapons depot 136 meters underground. The video shows the amazement of an American reporter who witnessed this (here).

The clip had gathered over 98,000 views at the time of writing. An archived version of the clip can be seen (here).

Many of the comments suggest that users were duped into thinking that the video was authentic and filmed in Ukraine.

One user who shared the tweet said: “Keep messing around NATO and you will get us all killed. The only way out of this is to negotiate” (here).

Other examples of the video shared on social media can also be viewed (here), (here), (here), (here) and (here).

The video was created using video editing software, however, and can be traced back to a computer-generated imagery (CGI) and visual effects (VFX) artist under the username InsanePatient2, who first posted the clip here (here).

The artist posted the video to YouTube on Feb. 27 (bit.ly/3NqJdSF) and (bit.ly/3ybF54v) with a title, “What if Russia Started Nuclear War?” The caption of the YouTube video reads: “What if Russia/Putin Started Nuclear War with Ukraine and the rest of the world?”

The individual confirmed to Reuters that they created the imagery.

“I am in fact a CGI/VFX artist. The video is just an effect I made using HitFilm,” the creator told Reuters via email. “So yes, that twitter claim is false,” the artist added.

Hitfilm is a VFX and video editing software (fxhome.com/product/hitfilm).

According to the video creator, the audio was taken from an actual video of an explosion, and the assets used for the explosion effect can be found (footagecrate.com/search/#!/Nuke).

The artist regularly posts various animations to their social media accounts (www.tiktok.com/@insanepatient2) and (bit.ly/3xNBoAm).

On March 19, 2020, Russia said that it had used hypersonic Kinzhal (Dagger) missiles to destroy a large weapons depot in Ukraine's western Ivano-Frankivsk region (here), (here).

Defence ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov told a briefing that the underground depot hit by the Kinzhal system housed Ukrainian missiles and aircraft ammunition, according to a recording of the briefing shared by Russian news agencies.

Reuters was not able to independently verify Konashenkov’s statements.

Reuters has previously addressed computer-generated clips that duped users on social media (here), (here).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. The video of an explosion is not an authentic clip of a missile destroying a depot in Ukraine. The clip was created by a visual effects artist.

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

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