Video showing destruction after Kyiv's bombardment shared as footage from France

By: Umme Kulsum
July 18 2023

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Video showing destruction after Kyiv's bombardment shared as footage from France


The Verdict False

This video shows destruction in Kyiv after a Russian airstrike in March 2022. It is unrelated to the recent France unrest.

Claim ID fde4f2e9


Even as the violent protests in France, triggered by the killing of a 17-year-old boy by a police officer, seemed to have subsided, false information about the unrest continues to spread online. Many users have linked old and unrelated videos to the protestors and shared them with anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim narratives.

One such video of destroyed buildings, burnt vehicles, and debris scattered in the middle of a huge street has been shared with the claim that it shows the destruction caused by the protestors in France. One such post read, “France is being destroyed by the diversity they welcomed with open arms and the media is concerned about how this can help the far right.” At the time of publishing, this post alone had been viewed more than a million times. An archive of the post can be accessed here.

However, the video is unrelated to the recent unrest in France.

In Fact

Logically Facts conducted a Google reverse image search and found a video with similar visuals of battered buildings shared on Twitter by Kyiv Post on March 21, 2022. While shot from different angles, both videos show a multi-storeyed building with red strips seen on the right side and a smaller building with a huge ‘O’ symbol or a circle next to it. The accompanying post talked about the situation in Podilsky district in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv a day after an attack by Russia. The post read, “On March 20, #RussianMilitaries attacked the Podilsky district, #Kyiv. As a result of the shooting, a mall and automobiles at the parking lot got burnt. The information about murdered and injured people is found out (sic).” 

Further research showed us that the attacked compound was the Retroville shopping mall in Kyiv. The Guardian had published visuals of the site after Russia hit it with a missile in March 2022. At the 0:22 timestamp, the red-striped multi-storeyed building and the smaller building can be spotted in this video as well. The video description read, “Russian forces have bombed the Retroville shopping mall in the Podilsky district of Kyiv with a missile, eight people were killed. The effect of the explosion caused great damage to the shopping centre, as well as to the surrounding buildings and cars.”

Illia Ponomarenko, a defense correspondent for the Kyiv Independent, had also released a video showing comparable devastated structures and a site of the Retroville shopping center after the bombardment. The structures in the viral video and the videos mentioned above can be spotted at the 0:05 timestamp in the clip, confirming that the footage was shot in Ukraine. The post’s caption read, “The Retroville Mall in Kyiv. It was recently targeted by a Russian missile. The blast took off window glasses in buildings 100-200 meters away.”

We also found an image on the stock photo website Getty Images, which showed visuals of the rampaged infrastructure as in the viral video. The Getty Images description read, “Smoke billows after a Russian attack on the Retroville shopping mall and residential district of Kyiv on March 21, 2022.” 

We were also able to geolocate the place shown in the viral video. The Google Earth street view shows the multi-storeyed red-stripped building in the background and the smaller building supporting the likely symbol of Retroville shopping center (the letter ‘R’ within a circle). Only the circle part of the logo remained intact after the attack by Russia, as seen in the viral video; however, the clip matches the Google Earth street view.

The Verdict

The video was shot in March 2022 after Russia bombed a shopping center in Kyiv. This video has nothing to do with the recent unrest in France. Therefore, we have marked this claim as false.

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We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before