Hundreds of Russian Paratroopers Descend from War Planes in Kharkiv? Dubious Video Triggers Panic on Social Media

A viral video showing hundreds of Russian paratroopers descending from fighter planes on the Ukrainian soil is found to be fake. The video is unrelated to the ongoing war between the countries, which started Thursday morning.

On Thursday morning, in a televised address, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a go ahead to invasion of Ukraine. Insisting that the military operation was aimed to protect civilians, Putin said Russia doesn't plan to occupy Ukraine.

Russian paratroopers
Video showing Russian paratroopers descending on Ukraine has surfaced on social media. Twitter

Are Those Russian Soldiers in the Video?

Hours after Russian invasion of Ukraine, a video showing hundreds of paratroopers descending from the sky using white para shoots flooded the social media.

It was claimed in the posts that these were Russian paratroopers who were landing near Kharkiv.

The video also a large audience witnessing the descend of the paratroopers. "Watch this video to see how #Russian military paratroopers land in Ukraine near Kharkov," a user tweeted while sharing the video.

"Tens of thousands of Russian paratroopers landed @ dawn in the Western Kharkiv region in Ukraine," read another tweet.

Here is the Truth

Debunking the claim being made through the video, Alt News, an Indian fact checking website, claimed that the video is not related to the ongoing between the two countries.

Claiming that it dated back to 2014, the outlet reported that it split the video into multiple keyframes and reverse-searched them on Yandex.

During the search, the video was found to be uploaded in 2016 with a Russian caption, roughly translated to, "This is what Russian paratroopers look like." A Facebook page, 'Made in Russia' also shared the video in the same year while claiming that it was originally shot in Rostov, Russia, in 2014. "Massive air 'desant' of Russian VDV airborne troops (around 2000 paratroopers) in Rostov region from 17 Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft. Each Il-76 can take 126 paratroopers ('desantnik'). Year 2014. 'VDV' or Russian Airborne Troops currently go through enlargement from 35 000 in 2014 to 72 000 by 2019. VDV is the strategic reserve of the Supreme commander and subordinate to the President of Russia. The only heavily mechanized airborne capable force in the world," read the post.

Earlier, appealing for peace, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, in a televised address said, "You are being told that Ukraine can pose a threat to Russia. It was not like this in the past, it is not like this now and it will not be so in the future. You demand security guarantees from NATO. We also demand guarantees of our security - from you, from Russia, and other guarantors of the Budapest memorandum."