Video of helicopter crashing ‘in Ukraine’ is actually from a video game

3 March 2023
What was claimed

A video shows NATO helicopters getting shot down by Russian forces.

Our verdict

The video is from a military game called Arma 3.

It’s been claimed that a video on Twitter, which appears to show multiple helicopters being shot down shows NATO aircraft being attacked by Russian missiles in Ukraine.

Text within the video says “Only China has the privilege to watch the live video, not even the western countries and the world”. It was also shared on Facebook last year.

However, the video isn’t a genuine recording of Russian forces attacking aircraft. A much clearer version posted to YouTube last April shows it is footage from a military video game called Arma 3.

It’s much more obvious in this higher quality version that the footage is computer generated. 

The developer that created Arma 3, Bohemia Interactive, has helpfully published both a blog post and a video on clues to look out for if you suspect footage from Ukraine may actually be from their game.

It shows that users using Arma 3 footage to create fake videos of Ukraine may edit the footage to make it look blurrier and like the camera is shaking. This alone doesn’t prove a video isn’t genuine, but most phones have high quality cameras nowadays, and such blurry footage even at night isn’t as common. 

The developer also points out that the video won’t feature any people moving. They say: “While the game can simulate the movement of military vehicles relatively realistically, capturing natural looking humans in motion is still very difficult, even for the most modern of games.”

It also adds that viewers should look out for the game’s user interfaces, such as weapon selection, ammunition counters, vehicle status, in-game messages, which may appear at the corners.

They also ask players to “use their game footage responsibly”.

This isn’t the first time we've seen footage from Arma 3 appearing online alongside claims it shows Ukraine. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about how we verify false videos, especially those around the war in Ukraine, you can read our blog post on the topic here.

Image courtesy of Philip Myrtorp

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