B-52 bomber and two fighter jets
Footage of a US Air Force B-52 bomber in a Facebook post has nothing to do with the war in Ukraine. Image by AP PHOTO

Old footage rehashed for nonsense NATO claim

Tom Wark April 5, 2024

Footage shows US and German forces arriving at the Ukraine border for a NATO exercise.


 False. The footage is from various sources, none of which are related to the war in Ukraine.

A video circulating on social media claims that NATO troops are massing at the Ukraine border in a sign of escalating tension in Europe.

This is false. The video contains several different pieces of footage filmed over several years, and there are no reports and no evidence of recent NATO troop movements into Ukraine.

The video, originally from TikTok, appears in a Facebook post. Overlaid text reads: “US and German troops arrive with B-52 bombers at the border of Ukraine to conduct training exercises with NATO forces”.

The text continues: “Russia officially declares a state of war” with a date of March 23, 2024.

AAP FactCheck investigated the origins of the footage used in the post and found it came from various sources. None of it is related to the current war in Ukraine.

Facebook post
 A video uses old footage gathered from around the web to make a false claim about the Ukraine war. 

The opening shots of the video show hundreds of soldiers walking down a city road.

A reverse image search reveals that the video is a cropped and flipped version of footage seen in this Instagram post from February 2022. That post includes the false claim that it showed Russian and Chechen troops in a Ukrainian city.  

However, the uncropped video shows a distinctive blue dome building in the background which is identifiable as a restaurant in Grozny, which is the capital of the Russian Republic of Chechnya and almost 1000km from the nearest Ukraine border.

The following shots in the Facebook video show a B-52 bomber flying in formation with fighter jets.

However, a reverse image search reveals the footage was published before the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The footage is from this video of Turkish and British fighter jets escorting a US B-52 to an airbase in Spain on May 26, 2021. The video was published by the US military’s Defense Visual Information Distribution Service.

Outlets in the UK and the US (here and here) published articles at the time of the 2021 operation with photos of planes in formation that match those in the footage used in the false post.

NATO military exercise
 NATO allies taking part in a military exercise in Germany in March. 

Extended versions of the deceptive video compilation seen by AAP FactCheck on TikTok (here, here, here and here) also include footage of a B-52 bomber landing at an unidentified airfield.

Using the distinctive hangars in the background, reverse image searches reveal that the clip is actually from this March 2021 post on the Military Footage Archive YouTube page.

The video shows a US B-52 bomber landing at the Andersen Air Force Base on the island of Guam, almost 10,900 km away from Ukraine’s western border.

NATO is holding a mass training exercise in Europe between January and May 2024. Troops, including from the US and Germany, will participate in training in several countries, including Poland and Romania.

The Verdict

The claim that footage shows US and German forces arriving at the Ukraine border for a NATO exercise is false.

The footage used in the video is several years old and obtained from multiple sources unrelated to the crisis in Ukraine.

False – The claim is inaccurate.

AAP FactCheck is an accredited member of the International Fact-Checking Network. To keep up with our latest fact checks, follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

In the story “FactCheck Russia Ukraine” sent at: 03/04/2024 15:53.

The short verdict and 16th paragraph have been amended to reflect that the stated NATO training exercise is part of a broader operation that will be staged in several countries, including Poland.

This is a corrected repeat.

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