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Drone Strike From Azeri-Armenian Wαr Viral As Ukrαiniαn Attαck On Russiαn Tanks – FACT CHECK

A video that claims to show a successful Ukrαiniαn drone strike on Russiαn tanks has gone viral on social media. India Today’s Anti Fake News wαr Room (AFWA) has found the claim to be misleading.

As per the latest reports, Russiα has intensified shelling in the Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk regions as Ukrαiniαn forces refuse to give in. As the conflict thus drags on with no visible sign of peace, a video has gone viral on social media with the claim that it shows a successful Ukrαiniαn drone strike on Russiαn tanks.“Ukrαine’s armed forces show a video with a Bayraktar drone destroying Russiαn tanks,” wrote a Facebook user while sharing it.

The India Today Anti Fake News wαr Room (AFWA) found the claim was misleading. The footage is not from the Ukrαine-Russiαn wαr. It was shot in 2020 when Armenia and Azerbaijan clashed for the control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

AFWA Probe

The claim names Bayraktar drones responsible for neutralising enemy ground units. Forbes calls Turkish-made Bayraktar TB2 “the most celebrated drone of the age.”Known for its armour-breaching capacity, Ukrαine’s original fleet of drones was estimated to be 36 strong. There are reports of replacements still reaching Ukrαine as many of these have been lost in the course of the wαr.

Where is the video from?

A reverse search of the video’s keyframes on Yandex returned results in plenty — most dating back to 2020. Among the top results was an Instagram post from a verified account of noted Russiαn TV journalist Olga Skabeyeva.On September 28, 2020, Skabeyeva shared the same video, writing, “Azerbaijani video with an Armenian tank. The hope that by morning they would change their minds did not come true.” This confirmed that the video is not recently shot from Ukrαine as claimed in the viral post.

Yandex also led us to a handful of YouTube videos that were uploaded in September 2020. Like Skabeyeva’s post, they claimed it showed Azerbaijan on the offence against Armenian troops. Some of these videos can be seen below.

Azerbaijan and Armenia fought over the control of long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory from September to November 2020. Supported by Turkey, Azerbaijan made major breakthroughs before a ceasefire came into force. We checked for more evidence to assert that the viral video was from the wαr in 2020. We found a photo story on the Karabakh conflict in a Turkish news portal. It explained how Turkish-made Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) helped Azerbaijan edge out its foe on the battlefield. The story contained many visuals of destroyed tanks that looked similar to the scenes from the viral video.

Similarly, another website called “sonhaberler.com” in September 2020 used a screenshot from the viral video to report the total damage suffered by Armenia in the conflict.India Today has earlier debunked claims that linked unrelated visuals to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.Hence, we concluded that the video of a lethal drone strike shared as a Ukrαiniαn offence against Russiα was shot almost two years ago when Armenia fought Azerbaijan.