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DEBUNKED: Video DOESN'T Show Russian tank Running Over a Civilian

Independent Fact Checkers debunk the footage.


Video claims to show footage of a russian 'tank' deliberately running over a civilian.

Claim made by: Social Media; ITV News; BBC News; The Independent; The Sun; The Mirror; Channel 9 Australia; The New York Post; The London Evening Standard, and many others.

The Video from February 25, first published on Twitter, claims to show a Russian military tank running over a car in the Obolon district of Ukraine's capital city Kiev. The video has been watched over ten million times and republished as fact by a number of western media outlets.

But contrary to what some users claim, this is not a Russian tank deliberately running over a civilian at all.

Since February 25, videos showing an armoured vehicle running over a car in Obolon have been circulating on both Social media and broadcast Mainstream media and reported as fact. Many English- and French-speaking accounts claimed that these images showed a Russian tank deliberately running over a civilian. However there is no evidence to support this. On the contrary, there are several indications that vehicle is an Ukrainian APC.

Visual clues reveal the location

On Twitter, we found seven different videos showing the same scene from different angles.

This video, filmed from a distance, shows an armoured vehicle reversing after running over a car.

This one, filmed from closer up, shows the same tank swerving suddenly before hitting the car. In this footage, people can be seen trying to rescue the motorist who appears to have survived.

To verify these videos' authenticity, we geolocated and dated each one of them. To do this, we used visual clues in the videos, such as tram tracks, the shape of the road where the incident took place and the colours of the cars parked nearby. All the videos were indeed taken the morning of February 25 at this location in the Obolon district of Kiev.

Origins of Vehicle claimed to be a "Russian Tank"

Closer examination of the military vehicle involved in the collision shows it to be a Strela-10 a model of anti-aircraft missile launcher used by the Ukrainian army. This has been confirmed by several journalists and open-source investigators.

There are other clues that suggest the vehicle is Ukrainian. For example, there is no letter "Z" painted on the side of the tank, something the Russian military has used since the start of this conflict as a distinguishing mark to differentiate their equipment from similar Ukrainian models.

Moreover, this type of surface-to-air missile launcher isn't designed for close combat in an urban environment, but rather to support retreating troops, according to Rob Lee, a doctoral student at the Department of War Studies at King's College London.

Possible reasons for the crash

Other videos shot a few moments earlier put the video in context. In these videos soldiers dressed in Ukrainian uniforms chasing and shooting at the driver of a military truck (in red below) seconds before the armoured vehicle incident.

The man driving the military truck was also wearing a Ukrainian uniform, but soldiers who could be heard speaking in the videos explained that he was suspected to be a "Russian saboteur disguised as a Ukrainian soldier". A few minutes before the incident occured, Ukrainian Deputy Defence Minister Anna Maliar posted a message on Facebook saying that "the Russian army has seized Ukrainian army vehicles and is headed towards Kyiv". There is no substantiating evidence for these claims.

In several videos, the Ukrainian soldiers nearby do not attack the armoured vehicle after it runs over the car, nor does the vehicle flee. This is why several journalists claim that the driver of the Strela-10 was not one of these saboteurs, but rather a Ukrainian soldier who was thrown off by the shooting that had taken place nearby. They said the collision between the car and the Ukrainian armoured vehicle was accidental and caused by the fighting.



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