Fact Check-Video purporting to show Soviet-era tanks shipped from Russia to Ukraine dates to at least 2019

A video purporting to show Soviet-era tanks being shipped from Russia to battle in Ukraine is being circulated online, but the clip predates Russia’s invasion of its neighbour and is unrelated.

“FLAMING COFFINS: Desperate to make up its battlefield losses, and unable to mass produce more modern designs, RU is shipping eighty-year-old T-34 main battle tanks to Ukraine. Designed before World War II, these antiques will quickly become food for Leopards,” said one Twitter user sharing the footage on March 22 (here ).

Another said: “Those are T 55 tanks being sent to Ukraine. They were introduced in 1958. Yes, Russia is sending 65 year old tanks to the war… can’t wait to see what the Leopards do to them” (here ).

Reuters reported in February about Russia's tank losses and its need to rely on Soviet-era models (here ).

However, an online search of still images taken from the clip reveals that it dates to at least Jan. 18, 2019, three years before Russia invaded Ukraine.

It was first published to YouTube by a local news outlet in Krasnoufimsk, Russia, and is described as showing a train carrying T-34 tanks through Krasnoufimsk station, having travelled from Laos (here ).

The same outlet quoted the Russian Defence Ministry as saying the equipment was due to be used in victory parades in Russian cities, museum exhibits and historical films about the eastern front of World War Two known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War ( ).

The Russian Embassy in Laos posted about the transfer of 30 T-34 tanks on Jan. 10, 2019 (here ).

International outlets also reported on Laos returning the Soviet tanks, which played a vital role in defeating Nazi Germany, and said that the train's progress was regularly updated by Russian TV (here ) (here ).

In January 2019 a state-funded Russian film entitled “T-34” that lionizes a Soviet World War Two tank and its crew became the second highest grossing home-grown production since the collapse of the Soviet Union, part of a Kremlin-backed drive to instil patriotism in young people (here ).


Miscaptioned. Video purporting to show Soviet World War Two tanks being shipped from Russia to Ukraine in March 2023 can be traced back to 2019.

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