Fact checks on public officials

FACT CHECK: Video of ‘Putin capture’ is just game simulation


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FACT CHECK: Video of ‘Putin capture’ is just game simulation
The misleading video uses a clickbait title and thumbnail to falsely claim that Russian President Vladimir Putin was captured by US and NATO forces

Claim: Russian President Vladimir Putin has been captured by US and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces. 

Rating: FALSE

Why we fact-checked this: The claim was made in the title and thumbnail of a YouTube video that has 23,798 views, 203 likes, and 16 comments as of writing. 

The title of the video states: “TODAY’S NEWS! MOMENT, Putin was captured by US and NATO mercenaries.” 

Its thumbnail shows a distressed Putin surrounded by people with Saint Basil’s Cathedral in the background.

The YouTube video also circulated through a Facebook Live with the same title and was broadcast live on YouTube by another channel.

The bottom line: Putin has not been arrested by US and NATO forces. No announcements from reputable sources, such as the US Department of Defense, the Russian government, and NATO, confirm the claim. 

The video’s thumbnail is highly likely to be AI-generated, and the video itself does not show any actual clips of Putin’s alleged capture. Instead, the four-hour, 53-minute long video shows clips from the open world, multiplayer sandbox game Arma 3, produced by Czech game developer Bohemia Interactive. The description of the video also states: “This video was made with ARMA, it does not fully represent reality, it is just a real news simulation.”

Despite this disclaimer, some of the comments in the video still believe it to be authentic, with one comment in Thai stating, “It’s also good that Ukrainians will be able to have peace again. Keep fighting, Ukrainian warriors.” 


Presidential engagements: Putin’s most recent presidential engagement was a June 27 meeting with his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso, who was in Russia on an official visit.

The Russian president also recently made headlines for a state visit to North Korea on June 18 and 19, his first visit in 24 years. While there, Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed a mutual defense agreement. The pact replaces the Friendship, Cooperation and Good Neighbourliness Treaty that Putin signed in 2000 with Kim Jong Un’s father, Kim Jong Il. 

The visit caused concern in the global political order, as there have been concerns that Pyongyang is providing Moscow with ammunition for its war against Ukraine. Al Jazeera reported that North Korea could be driven by the need for economic assistance and technology transfers for its military modernization program. – Katarina Ruflo/Rappler.com

Katarina Ruflo is a Rappler intern. She is currently pursuing a degree in Political Science with a major in International Relations and Foreign Service at the University of San Carlos, Cebu.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. You may also report dubious claims to the #FactsFirstPH tipline by messaging Rappler on Facebook or Newsbreak via Twitter direct message. You may also report through our Viber fact check chatbot. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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