FACT CHECK: Does This Video Show A Russian Warship Being Hit With Missiles?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A video shared on Facebook purportedly shows a Russian warship being targeted and sunk by missiles.

Verdict: False

The video shows the USS Thach, a decommissioned American ship, being sunk during a training exercise in 2016. The footage has nothing to do with the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Fact Check: 

The U.S. is planning to give Ukraine two Harpoon anti-ship coastal defense systems as part of its new $1 billion military aid package to the country, according to Naval News. Ukraine sank the Moskva, Russia’s Black Sea flagship, back in April with Neptune anti-ship missiles, BBC News reported.

The May 7 Facebook video allegedly shows a Russian warship being hit and sunk by missiles. The video includes audio of someone speaking in Russian. “Russian warships targeted by missiles,” reads the video’s caption. (RELATED: No, This Is Not Footage Of A Ukrainian Missile Blowing Up A Russian Naval Vessel)

The footage predates the current conflict in Ukraine, however, and does not show a Russian warship being hit. A reverse image search found the footage first appeared on YouTube in a 2016 video titled “Ex-Navy Warship Hit By Missiles & Torpedoes • RIMPAC 2016.”

“Aerial view of the decommissioned USS Thach (FFG-43) being hit by missiles and torpedoes during a live-fire sinking exercise (SINKEX) as part of RIMPAC 2016 near Hawaii,” reads part of the description. News outlets, like The Drive and the USNI News, reported on the Thatch’s sinking back in 2016.

There have been no recent reports of Ukraine sinking any Russian warships besides the Moskva, according to Oryx, an open-source military analyst website that tracks combat losses. There are likewise no credible news reports suggesting any Russian warships have recently been sunk.

This is not the first time footage of a warship has been falsely attributed to the current conflict in Ukraine. Check Your Fact recently debunked a video from April 2022 that allegedly showed a Russian warship on fire following a missile attack.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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