By: Sam Doak
July 10 2023
This footage can be matched to a video of a Wagner convoy moving east during last month's mutiny.
On June 23, 2023, mercenaries affiliated with Yevgeny Prigozhin’s Wagner Group mutinied. Citing grievances with Russia’s military leadership, Prigozhin directed his forces to occupy the southern city of Rostov-on-Don and advance north towards Moscow.
The following day, it was announced that Wagner troops would stand down, and combatants were given the option to demobilize, enlist with Russia’s regular armed forces, or relocate to Belarus with Prigozhin. The terms of this deal, purportedly brokered by Belarus’s leader Alexander Lukashenko, quickly raised concerns that the country could be used to stage an invasion of Ukraine from the north.
Against this backdrop, a video has been widely circulated in recent days. Filmed from a moving car, it shows a sizable convoy of military vehicles and troops, including a Pantsir-S1 surface-to-air missile system. Numerous social media users, such as Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to Ukraine’s Minister of Internal Affairs, have claimed that this was recorded recently and shows Wagner troops relocating to Belarus. On this, Gerashchenko stated, “Reportedly, this is a video of a Wagner PMC convoy arriving to Belarus.” This tweet was widely shared, garnering over 450 retweets and 1,500 likes.
While the video posted by Gerashchenko has been widely shared with this narrative attached to it, Logically Facts has determined that it was actually filmed during the Wagner uprising in June.
During the Wagner mutiny, Prigozhin’s forces traveled north primarily along the M4 highway. While this is a dual carriageway along most of its length, the road in the video shared by Gerashchenko has a single lane in each direction. This allowed Logically Facts to narrow its search for instances in which Wagner forces deviated from the M4.
Noting that a portion of Wagner troops separated to take control of an airstrip at Buturlinovka, Voronezh Oblast, Logically Facts searched for footage purportedly filmed in this region. While the exact footage could not be found, a video shared on June 24 by the Twitter account @OSINTtechnical shows the same convoy, in the same location, shot from a vehicle traveling in the opposite direction. Geographical features such as road markings, foliage, and terrain, as well as the order of the vehicles, confirms that both videos show the same convoy filmed at around the same time.
Since Logically Facts identified alternative footage of the convoy, Twitter user @neonhandrail geolocated the footage, geolocating a bus stop shown in the video shared by @OSINTtechnical to the coordinates 50.564228, 40.311388. Logically Facts has independently confirmed this. Knowing this, it is possible to determine that the convoy was moving east at the time of filming.
This video appears to have been filmed on June 24, prior to the announcement of the deal under which Wagner troops are to relocate to Belarus. While Belarus lies to the west of Russia, the footage shows troops moving east. This claim has therefore been marked as false.