A video clip showing a man in a body bag smoking a cigarette is circulating online as “evidence” that Ukrainian casualties following Russia’s invasion are being faked. But that’s not true. The video was actually shot on the set of a music video released in 2020. Let’s take a look at the facts.
A central Russian disinformation narrative during the war in Ukraine has been the baseless claim that Ukraine is faking or staging attacks and casualties. This falsehood has also gained traction among online communities of conspiracy theorists. In an attempt to legitimize this absurd notion, Russian government sources have pointed to misinformation circulating among people who appear to support Ukraine, even going so far as to fabricate pro-Ukraine “fakes” so that they can be “debunked” by sources echoing Russian government talking points. Prior to being shared widely in the false context of Ukraine, this clip circulated online in April 2021 to push the ridiculous claim that COVID-19 deaths were being faked. A different clip from the same music video set circulated online in September 2020 to falsely claim the body bags contained people who had died from COVID-19.
Here is a full copy of the video:
- “Fact Check-Video of man smoking among body bags is from a 2020 music video” (Reuters Fact Check).
- “Video does not show staging of COVID victims” (Arijeta Lajka, The Associated Press).
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