FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Russian Fighter Jet Being Shot Down In Ukraine?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook claims to show a Russian fighter jet plummeting to the ground after being hit in Ukraine.

Verdict: False

The video, taken in 2011, shows a Libyan airplane being shot down during the Libyan Civil War.

Fact Check:

Russian forces launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine Thursday, days after Russia recognized the independence of two separatist-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine, according to The New York Times. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Ukraine will defend itself against the invasion and fighting between the two nations is underway, CNN reported.

Amid the conflict, Facebook users began sharing a video that allegedly shows a Russian fighter jet plummeting to the ground after being hit by Ukrainian fire. The video shows a plane engulfed in flames falling from the sky before it hits the ground and explodes. “Ukrainian air defense reported it has shot down 2 helicopter and 5 Russian fighter jets,” reads the caption of one post that shared the video. “Here’s one of them.”

However, the video predates the current Ukraine-Russia conflict. A reverse image search revealed the video is from 2011 and was taken in Libya. The footage was posted on YouTube in March 2011 by the Associated Press with the headline, “Raw Video: Plane Shot Down by Libyan Rebels.” The airplane can be seen spiraling downward and hitting the ground in the first 45 seconds of the YouTube video.

“Libyan rebels shot down a warplane that was bombing their eastern stronghold Benghazi on Saturday, as the opposition accused Moammar Gadhafi’s government of defying calls for an immediate cease-fire,” reads the video’s description. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Resistance Fighters Shooting Down A Pakistani Jet In Afghanistan?)

Civil war broke out in Libya in 2011 following a crackdown on anti-government protests in February of that year, according to CNN. Moammar Gadhafi, the leader of the country, was killed by rebel forces on Oct. 20, 2011, and the war was declared over days later, Al-Jazeera reported.

Ukrainian armed forces claim to have shot down six Russian planes, according to CNN. The Russian Ministry of Defense has denied the claim, the outlet reported.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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