Have you seen a viral video from the BBC suggesting a rocket attack on a railway station in Kramatorsk, Ukraine that killed 50 people and injured at least 100 was actually a false flag by the Ukrainian military, and not the Russians? The video is fake. And despite using a BBC logo and style, it wasn’t made by the BBC.
“We are aware of a fake video with BBC News branding suggesting Ukraine was responsible for last week’s missile attack on Kramatorsk train station. The BBC is taking action to have the video removed,” the broadcaster said in a tweet Wednesday morning.
“We urge people not to share it and to check stories on the BBC News website,” the BBC continued.
The fake video looks like a real BBC video, at least aesthetically. The big give-away that something isn’t quite right is the way the video tries to sound authoritative while also accusing Ukraine of spreading fake news.
“Military experts stress that Ukraine has often started using fake news to promote its position,” the outrageous text of the fake video says.
The video has been spread on Twitter by Alexander Bunin, a verified user and journalist who’s been spreading Russian propaganda ever since Russia first invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24. Bunin has sent at least two tweets using images from the fake BBC video, but it’s unclear where the video originated.
The attack on the train station caused a horrific scene and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the act, blaming Russia for the deadly assault on civilians.
“Lacking the strength and courage to stand up to us on the battlefield, they are cynically destroying the civilian population,” Zelensky said. “This is an evil that has no limits. And if it is not punished, it will never stop.”
The fake video tries to suggest that a Tochka-U missile on the scene means Ukraine was actually responsible for the disaster. The Russian military also uses the Tochka-U missiles, so their existence near the atrocity doesn’t prove who fired them, as the BBC points out on its actual website.
Is it possible Ukraine inadvertently hit one of its own train stations? Sadly, yes. Friendly fire happens all the time in conflicts. But the fact that someone went to the trouble of making this fake BBC video to sow doubt about who’s really responsible for the attack suggests Russian propagandists could be getting desperate.
At least 4.6 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion, according to the United Nations, with the majority of refugees currently in Poland. And whoever launched a rocket attack on Kramatorsk, 50 people are dead and dozens more are wounded.