On the 23rd Feb I reported on Ukrainian army having knocked out a Russian led armoured fighting vehicle (AFV). Approaching Ukrainian lines from the Russian occupied town of Dokuchajevsk, film footage shows an anti tank missile hitting and totally destroying it. Watch video on YouTube. Below screen grab shows the fire ball from the exploding AFV and mortar fire smoke in foreground.
With the film widely shared on social media and it indicating Russian led forces were attacking Ukrainian lines, Russia went into blame Ukraine, propaganda mode. This time, they plumped for Ukraine deliberately destroys an ambulance, killing 3 people. Now, although easy for me to expose this episode as false, for many others, they’ll think the videos and pictures are genuine. So this is a good example of the Kremlin’s use of YouTube and social media to spread fake news.
First bit of important evidence that this is nothing more than Russian fake news comes from Russian led forces themselves. Several days on, they have not reported any medics or civilians killed to the OSCE. Reason for this, is the OSCE will always visit the site of any alleged civilian casualties and produce a report on their findings.
Second piece of evidence comes via the so called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR).
Somewhat embarrassingly, they used a cropped picture of a Ukrainian ambulance in Debaltseve, destroyed in 2015, by Russian shelling.
Seen below, in 2016 a Ukrainian medic shared his story about operating in the bloody battle of Debaltseve. We can see the ambulance, with the debris from the fighting all around it. Just to further illustrate the point, I’ve added a Google search of the image, which again shows the date of 2016.
Third bit of evidence comes from News Front on YouTube.
With the DPR YouTube channel suspended for posting misleading content, the pro-Russian News Front channel is now posting their misleading content.
DPR channel suspended.
Here the ambulance has been replaced by a small, jeep type vehicle. Video on YouTube shows two Russian led soldiers, trying somewhat unconvincingly, to claim it’s an ambulance, destroyed by a Ukrainian anti tank missile.
1: The vehicle has clearly been damaged a long time ago.
2: Vehicle has rusted all over, from long exposure to rain.
3: The tree it’s under shows no signs of any burning, or major damage.
4: Smaller broken branches suggest vehicle has been dragged under the tree.
4: Vehicle could not be used as an ambulance, as far too small to carry wounded.
5: Ukrainian footage shows AFV hit in a large, open field.
6: AFV hit from the front. Vehicle has little impact damage on its front.
News Front video has had 4,655 views. Video in Russian.
Closer look at the extensive rust seen all over vehicle.
Related fake News Front article. Claims vehicle was used and marked as an ambulance.