Viral video falsely claims that Finland is sending tanks to Russian border
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A viral video circulating on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube features footage that purportedly shows Finnish tanks headed for the Russian border. However, it turns out that the footage actually shows the transporting of tanks taking part in a military exercise in the western part of the country, far from the border with Russia.
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Internet users have been sharing a viral video that falsely claims Finland is sending tanks to its border with Russia, to the east.
In reality, the video footage shows tanks being transported by train to a military exercise currently wrapping up in the country's west.
Visual clues in the video enabled us to geolocate the scene, confirming that the train was actually travelling from east to west, away from Finland's border with Russia.
Fact check in detail
This video, which was posted in French on Facebook on May 4 and garnered 12,000 views, shows a train transporting a dozen tanks.
In recent months, tensions have been escalating between Helsinki and Moscow. After the fall of the USSR, Finland did not join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and remained officially neutral.
However, when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 of this year, public opinion in Finland swung towards joining NATO, especially as Finland shares a long border with Russia. On May 12, Finland finally announced that it would make its official request to join NATO on May 15.
Tanks transported as part of a military exercise
The Finnish army tweeted a response to the video on May 4.
“A video has been circulating online claiming to show tanks being moved to Finland's borders. This is not true. The tanks were being moved to the army mechanised exercise Arrow 22. The exercise takes place in Niinisalo and Säkylä. More info on our website,” the tweet read.
The Arrow 22 exercise was a military exercise carried out jointly by the United States, United Kingdom, Latvia and Estonia from May 2-13.
A few visual clues in the video help us confirm this. You can see a tower in the background. If you do an internet search for the words "Finland" and "tower", you’ll pull up images of the Näsinneula tower in Tampere, a town in western Finland. It looks just like the tower you see in the background.
If you look up the tower in Tampere, a town in western Finland, on Google Maps and examine what is around it, you can find where the video was filmed – a set of train tracks alongside Törngren Park.
Looking at this location on Google Earth, you can see elements from the video— the railway bridge above the road, the train tracks, the brick chimney, the white and grey buildings and the vegetation.
Is is clear that the train is moving west, away from the border with Russia. The tanks were transferred to western Finland for a military exercise, not to the east where the country shares a long border with Russia.