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• A Facebook video does not show Ukraine being struck by a nuclear bomb. It shows a Russian missile strike against the Ukrainian city of Pavlohrad.
• Credible news coverage of the incident doesn't mention a nuclear attack.
A recent Facebook post featured a short TikTok video showing an explosion along with the question: "Did Ukraine just get nuked?" The video shows a loud explosion and a large smoke cloud. Men and women can be heard screaming in the background. A piece of text on the video says in Spanish: "Brutal. Explosion in Pavlograd, Ukraine."
This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)
Although the explosion appears significant, producing a thunderous noise and billowing smoke, it is not the result of a nuclear bomb. An image search using frames of the Facebook video brings up a Guardian article that features a recording of the same event but does not mention a nuclear attack.
The article says the video shows a Russian missile strike that happened overnight between April 30 and May 1 in the Ukrainian city of Pavlohrad (spelled as Pavlograd in Russian). The article says the strike caused "a significant blaze and secondary detonations."
Coverage of the same attack by other credible sources also doesn’t mention nuclear bombs. The Associated Press, citing Ukrainian authorities, said "seven missiles were shot at the city and ‘some were intercepted’ but others struck an industrial facility, sparking a fire."
Ukrainian officials told the news agency that the strikes in Pavlohrad targeted both industrial and civilian facilities, killing two people. They are part of a recent Russian offensive ahead of a planned Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Russia’s defense ministry said in a statement that the attack targeted "Ukrainian military-industrial complex facilities," including "enterprises producing ammunition, weapons and military equipment."
Russian news agency Tass, citing a Russian-installed official, said that the strikes hit "depots for ammunition and fuel." Neither the defense ministry nor Tass mentioned a nuclear strike.
The Guardian says that "the size of the fire in Pavlohrad suggests Russia may have hit an important arms depot." The targeting of a facility holding ammunition or fuel could explain the secondary explosions in the video.
But there’s no proof of a nuclear attack, which would have serious implications for the conflict. We rate the post False.
A May 1 Facebook post.
The Guardian, "Ukraine ammunition depot reportedly hit in wave of Russian missile attacks," May 1, 2023
An April 30 Twitter post.
The Associated Press, "Russia missile attack on Ukraine injures 34, damages homes," May 2, 2023
Reuters, "Russian strikes kill two in Ukraine, damage dozens of buildings," May 1, 2023
BBC, "Russia launches second pre-dawn missile attack in three days," May 1, 2023
The New York Times, "Ukraine’s Spring Offensive Comes With Immense Stakes for Future of the War," April 24, 2023
A statement by Russia’s defense ministry, May 1, 2023
Tass, "Russia's attack on Pavlograd deprives Ukrainian brigades of resources for advance," May 1, 2023
The War Zone, "Massive Shockwave From Russian Strike May Have Been A Rocket Storage Facility Detonating," May 1, 2023
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