The claim: A video shows the Ukrainian Air Force shooting down a Russian jet
“Just crazy footage of a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 shooting down an enemy Su-35 fighter jet. Glory to Ukraine,” reads the caption of a Feb. 25 Facebook post.
The post includes a vertical video that shows jets passing over a building. A projectile appears to strike an object in the sky, which catches on fire and produces smoke.
The video was viewed 14,000 times in a little over a week. However, the clip does not show Ukrainian fighters shooting down a Russian jet.
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“On this video, we are not ready to say that it is 100% truthful,” Volunteer Info, the Facebook page that shared the clip, told USA TODAY in a direct message.
Clip comes from video game
As reported by Reuters, the video comes from a game called “Digital Combat Simulator World,” which is described on its website as “a free-to-play digital battlefield game.” Swiss company Eagle Dynamics created the game.
Company spokesperson Matthias Techmanski confirmed to Reuters that the footage was from “Digital Combat Simulator World.”
“We are not responsible for its distribution, nor do we endorse such content,” he told the news outlet
A version of the video was also posted to YouTube on Feb. 24.
“This footage is from DCS, but is nevertheless made out of respect for ‘The Ghost of Kiev,'” reads the caption on YouTube. “If he is real, may God be with him; if he is fake, I pray for more like ‘him.'”
The “Ghost of Kyiv” is a purported Ukrainian fighter pilot said to be responsible for shooting down numerous Russian jets. The story and the identity of the pilot haven’t been verified, according to independent fact-checking organizations.
“With the exceptional technical progress made in hardware and software it is difficult to tell the difference between DCS and real-world footage. This is wonderful for you and for the industry in general,” Eagle Dynamics said in its tweet. “However, in the light of the current situation unfolding in Ukraine, it is paramount to avoid generating images that could be misconstrued and potentially put lives in danger.”
Fact check roundup: What’s true and what’s false about the Russian invasion of Ukraine
USA TODAY has debunked numerous misleading videos that have circulated online since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows the Ukrainian Air Force shooting down a Russian jet. The video is from a video game called “Digital Combat Simulator World.”
Our fact-check sources:
- Check Your Fact, March 1, Fact check: Does this video show a Ukrainian pilot shooting down a Russian jet?
- Reuters, Feb. 25, Fact Check-Animation miscaptioned as if to show video of Ukrainian fighter jet shooting down Russian plane
- “Digital Combat Simulator World,” accessed March 5, Digital Combat Simulator World
- “Digital Combat Simulator World,” accessed March 5, Eagle Dynamics contacts
- USA TODAY, Feb. 24, Fact check: Video shows Libyan fighter jet shot down in 2011, not Russian plane in Ukraine
- USA TODAY, March 7, Ukraine-Russia talks end with little progress other than ‘small’ shifts on civilian evacuations: Live updates
- YouTube, Feb. 24, Ghost of Kiev Kill
- The New York Times, March 3, Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War
- DCS World by Eagle Dynamics, Feb. 25, Facebook post (archived)
- Eagle Dynamics Feb. 25, Twitter thread
- TheJournal.ie, March 2, FactCheck: Is this footage of the famed Ghost of Kyiv?
- USA TODAY, March 7, Fact check: Claim that Sam Hyde is the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ is a hoax
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