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Video shows 2013 navy exercise, not Russian warship Moskva

April 15, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: A video shows the moment a Ukrainian missile struck the Russian warship Moskva in the Black Sea.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The footage is miscaptioned. The video actually shows a 2013 Norwegian navy test missile strike, not the Russian ship being hit amid the ongoing war with Ukraine.

THE FACTS: As both Russia and Ukraine gave differing accounts on Thursday about what happened to the Moskva, the flagship of Russia’s Black Sea fleet, some social media users shared miscaptioned images and footage purporting to show damage to the ship.

The guided-missile cruiser, named for the Russian capital, sank while being towed to port after suffering heavy damage under circumstances that remained in dispute on Friday. Ukrainian officials had said their forces hit the ship. Moscow acknowledged a fire on board but not any attack. U.S. and other Western officials could not confirm what caused the blaze.

Still, social media users shared images and videos out of context to claim they showed the aftermath of an attack. One such widely-shared video showed a large warship exploding, sending a plume of thick, dark smoke into the air.

A Twitter user shared it on Thursday, calling it “a video of the explosion of a Russian cruiser after being hit by a Ukrainian missile,” another post claimed the footage was from “yesterday in Ukraine.”

However, the footage was actually taken about nine years ago off the coast of Norway, and shows a Naval Strike Missile being tested on a decommissioned Norwegian ship during a military exercise, according to reports at the time from military.com, the British news agency South West News Service and others, which all used the same footage.

CNN also aired a June 2013 report about the exercise, using the footage and crediting it to the Norwegian navy.

A reverse image search using frames from the clip shows that the same video has been circulating online for years, predating the current war between Russia and Ukraine.

The Norwegian Ministry of Defense did not immediately return a request for comment.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.