Old video shows Ukrainian revolution, not Russian invasion
CLAIM: Video shows Ukrainian civilians throwing Molotov cocktails at Russian vehicles after Russia’s invasion in February 2022.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video is from 2014, and shows Ukrainian demonstrators clashing with local authorities during anti-government protests.
THE FACTS: Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine last week, social media users are misrepresenting old video filmed in Kyiv’s central square to falsely claim it shows Ukrainian citizens attacking Russian vehicles in recent days.
In the footage, which has spread on Facebook and Twitter, a vehicle on a debris-strewn street at night is bombarded by flaming objects and then catches fire. A second vehicle is hit by more blazing projectiles, and people are then seen throwing the objects and shouting from behind a makeshift barricade.
“Ukrainian citizens destroy 2 Russian tanks with molotov cocktails in Kiev,” one Facebook user wrote Friday, sharing the footage in a post that gained more than 430,000 views. Similarly, a Twitter user shared a segment of the footage, writing that it showed “People throwing Molotov at Russian tanks at night in Kiev, Ukraine #BreakingNews.”
The video has been posted on YouTube several times since February 2014. A portion of it was featured in the 2015 Netflix documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” which recounted the revolution. The video appeared alongside several other clips showing similar scenes, and the footage can also be seen in the film’s trailer at the 1:28 mark.
Evgeny Afineevsky, the filmmaker who directed “Winter on Fire,” confirmed in an email to The Associated Press that the video is “original footage” of the protests in the Maidan, Kyiv’s central square. He noted that it was recorded in February 2014 when “all Maidan was in fire,” though he didn’t specify who originally recorded the video.
The protests stemmed from Ukraine’s then Russia-aligned leader rejecting an agreement that would have strengthened ties with the European Union. The subsequent uprising, also known as the Revolution of Dignity, toppled Ukraine’s government in 2014.
While this footage spreading on social media is old, Ukrainians have started making Molotov cocktails to repel Russian troops, the AP reported on Sunday.
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.