Video shows military parade preparations, not war activity in Romania
CLAIM: A video of air defense systems and other military equipment slowly turning at an intersection in Romania shows them being transported toward the Moldova border as tensions rise in the region.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video shows a military parade in Alba Iulia, Romania, hundreds of miles from the Moldova border. The clip dates to November 2022 and is not related to Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to Romania’s Ministry of National Defense.
THE FACTS: A video of military parade preparations before a Romanian national holiday in 2022 is being misrepresented online with claims it shows a real military advance toward the Moldova border.
Located between Ukraine and Romania, Moldova has been in the center of a struggle between Moscow and the West amid Russia’s war on Ukraine. Ukraine and Moldova have alleged that Russia planned to overthrow Moldova’s government, claims Russia has denied.
It was in this context, shortly after the one-year anniversary of the war, that the claims began spreading in English and Russian on Twitter and the messaging app Telegram.
“Military activity spotted in #Romania,” reads one widely shared post. “According to Russian media, movement towards the border with #Moldova.”
“ROMANIA PREPARES FOR WAR; TANKS & HIMARS ON THE STREETS,” another tweet reads. “Army columns of Gepards and HIMARS Multiple-Launch-Rocket-Systems (MLRS) are on the streets inside Romania, apparently headed towards the Moldova border.”
But a location analysis of the intersection shown in the video shows that it was captured in Alba Iulia, a city in west-central Romania far from the Moldova border. Features in the video — including a gas station, buildings, crosswalks and trees — match those of an Alba Iulia intersection as shown on Google Street View.
Romania’s Ministry of National Defense said in a statement that the video was filmed in late November 2022 and showed rehearsals for an annual military parade for Romania’s national day. The country celebrates its national day on Dec. 1, when it marks Transylvania becoming part of modern-day Romania.
Numerous social media videos show the same military equipment featured in Alba Iulia’s 2022 national day parade.
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.