Viral clip is video game footage, not from Ukraine

The Claim: Video Shows Ukrainian Air Force Shooting Down Russian Plane

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues, a video purporting to show the Ukrainian Air Force shooting down a Russian plane has emerged on social media.

“Just crazy footage of a Ukrainian Air Force MiG-29 shooting down an enemy Su-35 fighter jet. Glory to Ukraine,” read the caption of a Facebook post from the 25th. February.

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 fire and produces smoke.

The video has been viewed 14,000 times in just over a week. However, the clip does not show Ukrainian fighters shooting down a Russian plane.

The video is from a video game. Independent fact-checking organizations have refuted claims that the clip shows the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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“On this video, we are not prepared to say that it is 100% truthful,” Volunteer Info, the Facebook page that shared the clip, told USA TODAY in a direct message.

The clip comes from the video game

As Reuters reported, the video is from a game called “Digital Combat Simulator World,” which is described on its website as “a free-to-play digital battleground game.” The Swiss company Eagle Dynamics created the game.

Company spokesman Matthias Techmanski confirmed to Reuters that the footage came from “Digital Combat Simulator World”.

“We are not responsible for its distribution, nor do we endorse this content,” he told the outlet.

A version of the video was also posted on YouTube on February 24.

“This footage is from DCS, but nonetheless made out of respect for ‘The Ghost of Kiev,'” reads the caption on YouTube. “If he’s real, God be with him; if he’s fake, I pray there are more like ‘him’.”

The “Ghost of Kyiv” is an alleged Ukrainian fighter pilot who allegedly shot down numerous Russian planes. The pilot’s story and identity have not been verified, according to independent fact-checking organizations.

Fact check:Claiming Sam Hyde is the ‘ghost of Kiev’ is a hoax

On February 25, the “Digital Combat Simulator World” Facebook page and the Eagle Dynamics Twitter Page both asked users to refrain from using the game to create false images of the conflict in Ukraine.

“With the tremendous technical advancements made in hardware and software, it’s hard to tell the difference between DCS and real-world images. It’s wonderful for you and for the industry in general,” Eagle Dynamics said in his tweet. “However, in light of the current situation unfolding in Ukraine, it is paramount to avoid generating images that could be misinterpreted and potentially put lives at risk.”

Fact check report:What is true and what is 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 opinion: False

Based on our research, we rate the claim that a video shows the Ukrainian Air Force shooting down a Russian plane as FALSE. The video is from a video game called “Digital Combat Simulator World”.

Our fact-checking sources:

  • Check Your Fact, March 1, Fact check: Does this video show a Ukrainian pilot shooting down a Russian plane?
  • Reuters, February 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, February 24, Fact Check: Video Shows Libyan Fighter Plane Shot Down in 2011, Not Russian Plane in Ukraine
  • USA TODAY, March 7, Ukraine-Russia talks end with little progress other than ‘small’ changes on civilian evacuations: live updates
  • YouTube, February 24, Ghost of Kiev Kill
  • The New York Times, March 3, Mixing Facts and Myths in Ukraine’s Information War
  • DCS World by Eagle Dynamics, February 25, Facebook post (archived)
  • Eagle Dynamics February 25 Twitter feed
  • TheJournal.ie, March 2, FactCheck: Are these images of the famous Ghost of Kiev?
  • USA TODAY March 7 Fact Check: Claiming Sam Hyde is the ‘Ghost of Kyiv’ is a Hoax

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