Fact-checking in partnership with Facebook
Social media disseminated a video showing evacuees from the town of Bucha near Kyiv talking about living under the russian occupation. They only shared a 30-second long passage, leaving out the rest of the eyewitness stories. The description says those who took help from the russians were reported on by other residents, and the Ukrainian military deliberately fired on their homes.
That is a fake story. The original video is over three minutes long, and none of the Bucha residents say anything like that. The story of the Ukrainian military shelling Bucha and particular houses based on the reports of others is entirely fictional. People in the redacted part of the video talk about shellings by the russians.
Andrey Zhernovoy: The truth about Bucha as told by the residents. The truth makes things clear. When the russian troops came, someone started hunting them, and someone agreed to take help from our troops.
A woman evacuated on March 25 from Bucha said: “Russians came to see where civilians were. They saw the children and asked if we were hungry or had medicines, and so on. After a while, they brought two sets [of their dry ration], and just two hours later, the shelling of our house began. After that, we realized, of course, that we had to [leave].
Of course, the “conscious ones” told on us. Our house took help from russians – the Nazis were informed about our address, and they fired on us. This can explain the firing on the street where the civilians’ dead bodies were “found.” It also explains our dry rations next to the victims’ bodies in the pictures. The Bandera scum fired at, abducted, tortured, and killed their compatriots in basements. Getting it all out together with dead bodies means covering their tracks. The war will write it all off.
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The original video, which lasted more than three minutes, was published by Nastoyaschee Vremya TV channel (Radio Liberty and Voice of America) on March 25. The video says the evacuation took place on March 19 to take the people to Belgorod. The town was under russian occupation at the time. Russian troops withdrew from it on March 31.
At 01:29-01:53, a woman says: “The russians came to see where the civilians were. They saw the children and asked if we were hungry, if we had medicines, etc. After a while, they brought two sets [of their dry ration], and just two hours later, the shelling of our house began. After that, we realized we had to leave.”
However, no one says anything about city residents reporting on others to the Ukrainian military or condemning these actions.
Instead, for the posts they disseminated on social networks, they edited out the part of the video where people from Bucha said that the russians killed Ukrainians. At 02:07, an older woman says:
“Why, who needs this war? We are Ukraine. We want to live independently. We’ve been living independently for 30 years. Well, let us live on our own. Is russia’s territory not enough for you? You should cultivate it. Ukrainians went there to cultivate virgin lands. I remember how our young people went to russia to cultivate virgin lands for them. And now they’re killing us, and now they’re shooting at our children.”
Footage from Nastoyaschee Vremya’s video
One can see that the russian segment of the social networks began to disseminate the video clip on April 5, when the russian authorities and state media were conducting an active information campaign, trying to deny their involvement in the Bucha crimes. However, the video was published back on March 25.
The fake posts also say that Bandera followers fired at, abducted, tortured, and killed Ukrainians in the basements. Therefore, such fake stories aim to deny russian war crimes.
But the evidence that the russian military committed the Bucha atrocities is indisputable.
The New York Times published satellite images taken by Maxar Technologies in mid-March and a video released on April 2. Many bodies lay on the Bucha roads on the days when russian troops held the town. The images show human bodies that appeared on Yablonska Street between March 9 and 11. The bodies remained in this place for more than three weeks. Maxar images also show abandoned cars and bodies that appeared between March 20 and 21.
The russian media outlet Medusa posted a drone video shot in Bucha from March 23 to March 30, 2022, proving that people were killed during the russian occupation of the city. Filmed from the air, all victims lie in the same places and in the same poses as in the pictures filmed on the ground. Several videos show military equipment similar to that used by russian airborne units (likely BMD and BTR-D) at a distance of several tens to several hundred meters away from the dead bodies.
The authors do not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and have no relevant affiliations