Video game clip shared as genuine footage of Russia's invasion of Ukraine

·2 min read

Footage that appears to show helicopters obliterated by missiles has racked up tens of thousands of views in social media posts that claim it shows combat between Russian and Ukrainian forces. While some social media users appeared to believe the clip was genuine, it was taken from war video game series Arma.

"Ukrainian Javelin missile unit against Russian helicopter unit. The battle is very fierce!" reads a tweet from May 21 written in simplified Chinese characters.

The video, which has more than 60,000 views, shows scores of missiles soaring through the sky and hitting helicopters.

Screenshot of a tweet sharing the false claim, taken on June 6, 2022

Russia's invasion of Ukraine has prompted a wave of misinformation, including video game clips shared as genuine footage of the conflict. AFP debunked some of the most widely-viewed videos here, here and here.

Many social media users appeared to believe the recent video -- which was shared on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and US social media site Gettr -- was genuine.

"If it carries on like this, Russian people will run out of planes," one commented.

"These helicopters are there to seek their fate," another said, adding: "I don't know what the Russian army was thinking."

'Military simulation'

A keyword search found a similar clip posted in a YouTube video titled: "Attack Helicopter shot down by Missile System - Ka 52 - Military Simulation - ARMA 3".

The video's creator says in the description that they "used ArmA 3 to create this Military Simulation".

Arma is a war-themed video game series released by Czech-based developer Bohemia Interactive in 2013.

Contacted by AFP, Pavel Křižka, PR manager of Bohemia Interactive, said: "The video was made in modded Arma game."

Below is a screenshot comparison of the video shared in one of the false posts (left) and the Arma clip uploaded to YouTube (right):

Screenshot comparison of the video shared in one of the false posts (left) and the Arma clip uploaded to YouTube (right)

Arma has previously posted warnings about video game footage falsely passed off as real life.

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