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- We found no evidence to support claims that China has entered Ukraine from Russia, much less that this video shows a Chinese military convoy in Ukraine. The footage has appeared online elsewhere in the context of a recent joint military exercise in Russia’s Far East region.
As senior officials from Russia and China announced they had agreed to participate in more joint military exercises, a rumor spread on social media that the Chinese military was allying with Russian troops invading Ukraine.
A video in the posts is grainy and looks as if it was taken with a cellphone camera. It shows a line of military vehicles driving down the road. Occasionally, civilian cars can be seen driving in the opposite direction.
But there’s 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 false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook.)
Because the vehicles in the video were shot at an angle, it’s difficult to see some of the finer details. However, the sides of some of the military vehicles seem to display Chinese characters. But the passenger cars don’t seem to have Ukrainian license plates, which feature that nation's flag against a blue background.
The footage appeared online as early as Aug. 29, when it was posted to YouTube. But the account sharing the clip there didn’t claim that it showed a Chinese military convoy entering Ukraine from Russia. Rather, the title, translated from Russian to English using Google Translate, says: "PLA to take part in Vostok 2022 land exercises."
PLA is an abbreviation for the People’s Liberation Army, a Chinese military force. On Aug. 17, Reuters reported that Chinese troops would travel to Russia to take part in joint military exercises led 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 Aug. 30 to Sept. 5. That’s on the opposite side of the country from Russia’s border with Ukraine. The last Vostok exercises in 2018 took place with nearly 300,000 troops reported to be involved, including the Chinese army, according to Reuters.
After a widely covered meeting Sept. 15 between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Putin said that Xi had "questions and concerns" about the situation in Ukraine. The revelation that China had breached the Russia-Ukraine border would be international news, yet no credible sources make the claims that appear in these Facebook posts.
In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sept. 18 on CBS, President Joe Biden said there has been "no indication" that China has tried to help Russia in its war with Ukraine.
We rate claims that this video shows the Chinese military entering Ukraine False.
Facebook post, Sept. 18, 2022
Facebook post, Sep. 18, 2022
USA Today, No indications China is helping Russia, Biden says; schools close in Russian border area: Updates, Sept. 18, 2022
The New York Times, Putin Nods to Xi’s ‘Concerns,’ and the Limits of Their Cooperation, Sept. 15, 2022
The New York Times, After Putin acknowledges Xi’s ‘concerns,’ Russia and China pledge closer cooperation, Sept. 19, 2022
Popular Mechanics, Putin Is Drafting Up to 300,000 Russian Reservists to Fight in Ukraine. Will It Work?, Sept. 22, 2022
Reuters, Far from Ukraine, Russia plans big eastern war games next month, July 26, 2022
YouTube, НОАК примет участие в сухопутных учениях "Восток - 2022," Aug. 29, 2022
World License Plates, Russia, visited Sept. 22, 2022
World License Plates, Ukraine, visited Sept. 22, 2022
Brown University, Introduction to Chinese Characters, visited Sept. 22, 2022
NATO, VOSTOK 2018: Ten years of Russian strategic exercises and warfare preparation, Dec. 20, 2018
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