Facebook posts – No, this is not a video of the Chinese army entering Ukraine
As senior Russian and Chinese officials announced they had agreed to participate in more joint military exercises, a rumor spread on social media that the Chinese military was allying itself with Russian troops invading the Ukraine.
“A Chinese military convoy is entering Ukraine from Russia,” said several posts appearing on Facebook on September 18.
A video in the messages is grainy and looks like it was taken with a cell phone camera. It shows a line of military vehicles driving down the road and occasionally civilian cars can be seen driving in the opposite direction.
But there is no evidence to support the claim that it shows a Chinese military convoy entering Ukraine.
These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat fake news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Learn more about our partnership with Facebook owner Meta.)
Because the vehicles in the video are filmed at an angle, it’s hard to see some of the finer details in the footage, but what appear to be Chinese characters are seen on the side of some military vehicles. However, passenger car registration plates do not appear to have the Ukrainian flag on a blue background, which now adorns plates in that country.
The footage appeared online as early as August 29, when it was posted on YouTube. But the account sharing the clip there did not claim it showed a Chinese military convoy entering Ukraine from Russia. On the contrary, the title, translated from Russian to English using Google Translate, reads: “PLA will participate in Vostok 2022 ground exercises.”
PLA stands for People’s Liberation Army, a Chinese military force. On August 17, Reuters reported that Chinese troops would travel to Russia to participate in joint military exercises conducted by the country. China’s Defense Ministry said in a statement at the time that its participation was “unrelated to the current international and regional situation”.
In July, Russia announced that it would hold the “Vostok” (meaning “East”) exercises in the country’s Far East region from August 30 to September 30. 5. It is opposite the border between Russia and Ukraine. The last Vostok drills in 2018 took place with nearly 300,000 troops believed to have been involved, including the Chinese military, according to Reuters.
After a widely covered Sept. 15 meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin said Xi had “questions and concerns” about the situation in Ukraine. The revelation that China had crossed the Russian-Ukrainian border would be international news, yet no credible source makes the claims that appear in these Facebook posts.
In a “60 Minutes” interview that aired on CBS Sept. 18, President Joe Biden said there was “no indication” that China tried to help Russia in its war against Ukraine.
We assess claims that this video shows the Chinese military entering Ukraine to be false.