By: Sam Doak
March 8 2023
This footage was taken from the video game Arma 3.
Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, a high volume of misattributed footage has circulated concerning the conflict. Frequently removed from their original context, such videos have been used by actors on both sides to present distorted views of the unfolding conflict.
A video that has been shared widely in recent days has been presented as showing a helicopter provided by NATO being shot down in Ukraine. Captioned "only China has the privilege to watch the live video, not even the western countries and the world," it has existed online for some time but has received a significant amount of attention since appearing on Twitter in late February 2023.
This video does not show a helicopter provided by NATO being shot down. As previously reported by Reuters, it is not footage from Ukraine at all, but rather a clip from the video game Arma 3.
This footage appears to have been taken from a YouTube video uploaded in April 2022. While in this instance, it was labeled to reflect its origin in a video game, clips of it were subsequently uploaded in lower resolution without such information. The comparatively low quality of later instances of this clip makes it harder for a layperson to identify it as an animation.
This is not the first time that footage of Arma 3 gameplay has been falsely presented as video documentation of real-world events. Because of this, Bohemia Interactive, the company behind the game, has created a resource to aid journalists and the public in identifying such clips.
Commenting on the misuse of Arma 3 footage, Pavel Křižka, a PR Manager at Bohemia Interactive, has stated, "While it's flattering that Arma 3 simulates modern war conflicts in such a realistic way, we are certainly not pleased that it can be mistaken for real-life combat footage and used as war propaganda. It has happened in the past (Arma 3 videos allegedly depicted conflicts in Afghanistan, Syria, Palestine, and even between India and Pakistan), but nowadays this content has gained traction in regard to the current conflict in Ukraine. We've been trying to fight against such content by flagging these videos to platform providers (FB, YT, TW, IG etc.), but it's very ineffective. With every video taken down, ten more are uploaded each day."
This video does not depict real-world events. It shows footage taken from a video game that has been removed from its original context and re-uploaded in low resolution. This claim has therefore been marked as false.