FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show An Explosion At A Power Plant In Ukraine?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

A video shared on Facebook allegedly shows an explosion at a Ukrainian power plant caused by a Russian airstrike.

Verdict: False

The video shows a series of explosions at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China in 2015.

Fact Check:

Russian forces launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine Feb. 24 with Russian President Vladimir Putin warning other nations of “consequences [they] have never seen” if they try to intervene, according to PBS. The U.S. issued severe sanctions on Russian banks but stopped short of targeting energy and other economic sectors following the start of the invasion, according to Politico.

A video shared on Facebook claims to show damage from the war in Ukraine. It shows footage of a distant building on fire that suddenly explodes into a huge fireball about 20 seconds into the video. A second large explosion follows shortly after the first.

“#Ukraine explosion,” reads the video’s caption. “Fires started by Russian airstrike set off chain reaction at Luhansk power plant #RussiaUkraineConflict #Russia.”

The video is not from Ukraine and predates the current Russian invasion. The footage comes from an August 2015 incident at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, China, according to NBC News. The video was filmed by an American, Daniel Van Duren, who was trying to capture the Perseid meteor shower before the incident occurred.

The explosions killed 165 people, caused approximately $1.1 billion in damages and destroyed more than 300 buildings, according to The New York Times. Illegally-stored toxic chemicals in the warehouse were deemed responsible for the incident in an official report, Al Jazeera reported. 49 people were reportedly jailed over the explosions as of November 2016, according to NPR. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Ukrainian Police Declining To Enforce COVID-19 Lockdowns And Mandates?)

Check Your Fact previously debunked an image from August 2020 that claimed to show the aftermath and crater from a blast in Lebanon, but really showed the aftermath of the Tianjin explosion.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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