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Fact Check-Videogame footage superimposed with news banner on Russia-Ukraine tensions

The livestream of a videogame superimposed with a banner that reads “Breaking News” and “Russia vs Ukraine war start (sic)” has triggered confusion online.

The 36-minute video ( here ) was livestreamed on Facebook on Feb. 17, 2022. The caption reads, “russia attack on Ukraine (sic)” and the user tagged themselves as “playing Arma 3.”

While the post itself was a videogame stream ( here ) and the user describes himself as a “Gaming video creator,” some users online appear to be confused. Others have expressed outrage against the user spreading “fake news.”

Comments from users that appear not to acknowledge the video shows a digital game rendering include: “Hey dude! why r u spreading fake news. At this moment of time Russia has pulled back 10,000 troops from the border,” “Russia has started Negotiation with NATO countries,” and “Is this real?”

The video, which had been viewed over 15,000 times in under five hours, looks like an animation (and not real footage), and resembles other clips showing the videogame Arma 3 ( here ), ( here ), ( here ).

It is not the first time that footage from this videogame ( arma3.com/ ) is mislabeled as if to show real world conflict. Reuters previously addressed iterations miscaptioned as scenes of gunfire between Israel and Hamas ( here ) ( here ) or in the Panjshir Valley in Afghanistan ( here ).

The footage was shared amid increased tensions between Ukraine and Russia.

Shelling in Ukraine on Thursday renewed Western fears of an imminent Russian invasion as U.S. President Joe Biden said Moscow is preparing a pretext to justify a possible attack and the Kremlin expelled an American diplomat ( here ).

While Russia accuses the West of hysteria, saying some its troops have returned to bases and that it has no plans to invade, many Western countries are adamant that the military build-up is continuing ahead of a possible assault.

For the latest Reuters coverage on the developing story, see ( www.reuters.com/places/ukraine ).

Reuters has previously addressed other iterations of misleading content related to the increased tension between the countries ( here ), ( here ).

VERDICT

Miscaptioned. This video does not show a military activity between Russia and Ukraine, but the videogame Arma 3.

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

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