This VFX video does not show ‘Russia’s vacuum bomb attack on Ukraine’

Copyright AFP 2017-2022. All rights reserved.

A video has been viewed tens of thousands of times across multiple social media posts claiming to show Russia attacking Ukraine with a vacuum bomb in 2022. However, the claim is false. Although Russia has been accused of using such weapons in Ukraine, the video is actually a digital creation by a visual effects artist.

“The Russian army used thermobaric weapons again,” reads East tweet, which shared a video on March 3, 2022.

“Thermobaric weapons are also known as fuel-air explosives or vacuum bombs! It is a prohibited weapon of mass destruction by the United Nations, and is also known as a small atomic bomb.”

The 15-second video, which has been viewed more than 23,000 times, shows a missile-like object falling from the sky and hitting the ground, followed by a flash of light and a mushroom cloud.

As the explosion occurs, one person can be heard screaming off-camera.

Screenshot of the misleading post, taken on May 10, 2022

The video was shared days after Kyiv and human rights groups accused Russia of using fuel-air explosives, also known as vacuum bombs or thermobaric weapons, in its invasion of Ukraine.

Although no international law specifically prohibits the use of vacuum bombs, it is argued that a country could be convicted of a war crime under the Hague Conventions if it uses them to attack civilians in built-up areas, schools or hospitals.

The video has been viewed more than 10,000 times after it was shared alongside a similar claim on Twitter. hereon tik tok hereon Weibo hereand Facebook here.

However, the statement is false.

Keyword searches found the identical video published by on the InsanePatient2 YouTube channel on February 28, 2022.

The video is titled: “What would happen if Russia started nuclear war? #shorts”.

The channel’s description says: “VFX… that’s it”, referring to computer generated visual effects.

The same video was also posted on InsanePatient2’s TikTok account. here on the same day, also with the caption: “What if Russia started nuclear war?”

In a comment on the TikTok post, InsanePatient 2 wrote: “to all the soft brained people out there who think i’m trying to fool people literally the words ‘what if’ are in the title. get help.”

Below are screenshot comparisons between the deceptive social media post video (left) and the genuine video on YouTube (right):

Screenshot comparisons between the video of the misleading post on social media (left) and the genuine video on YouTube (right)

Both Youtube Y tik tok accounts post other computer generated videos.

InsanePatient2 reused the background of the video in other clips.

The identical background can be seen in East video, titled “Moon Crashes into Earth!”, which was posted on the same YouTube channel on March 4, 2022.

The clip also shows how the scene was created.

Below is a screenshot comparison between the hoax post video (L) and the moon video (R), with the same features circled by AFP.

Screenshot comparison between the hoax post video (L) and the moon video (R)

Meanwhile, the male voice used in the “nuclear war” video also appears in East clip, titled “What if two planets collided?”, which was posted on the same YouTube channel on January 28, 2022.

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