This video does not show the Ukrainian army ready for conflict in 2022
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A video of hundreds of soldiers and dozens of military vehicles. Internet users have claimed that it shows the Ukrainian army deploying its forces to the border in response to the tensions that have been increasing between Russia and Ukraine since late 2021. But the video was shot before March 2020, and actually shows a military exercise.
The video, which appears to have been filmed by a drone, shows hundreds of soldiers advancing in rows alongside dozens of military vehicles, including tanks. It was posted on Twitter on January 20, with a caption in French explaining that it shows "A brigade preparing for front-line duty". The post doesn't specify when the video was taken, and garnered over 37,000 views.
It was shared again on January 21, this time with a caption indicating that it was the Ukrainian army near Kharkiv, not far from the Russian border. This post used the hashtag #UkraineCrisis, suggesting that it showed recent activity in the standoff between Ukraine and Russia.
One internet user believed they saw US soldiers in the video, commenting: "America holds the line commits troopsfor [sic] #Nato front against a possible Russian invasion."
A video dated prior to March 2020
It was uploaded by the channel "Defense Express", a Ukrainian military consulting and information company and partner of the Ukrainian defence industry.
The video's caption, in Ukrainian, indicates that Defense Express had used a drone to film the mechanised infantry carrying out a training drill.
Articles in local media dated March 2020 confirm that the video shows a training exercise of the Ukrainian armed forces. The articles don't specify exactly when or where these exercises took place.
So, the video has been taken out of context. It does not show the Ukrainian army deploying in the face of tensions with Russia in January 2022, but rather a training drill that happened before March 2020.
By deploying tens of thousands of troops to the Ukrainian border since autumn 2021, Russia has fuelled fears among Western powers of an offensive against Ukraine.
On January 19, 2022, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that Russia could attack Ukraine “on very short notice”.
On February 2, Russia denied preparing an offensive and accused the US of ignoring Russian concerns and trying to lure the country into a war in Ukraine.
Since 2014, Ukraine has been embroiled in a civil war in the eastern Ukrainian region of Donbas, between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian separatists, backed by Moscow.