Hindi news outlet TV9 Bharatvarsh tried to pass off on Friday footage made through a video game - ARMA 3 - as visuals from the ongoing military conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
BOOM found that the clip was online from August 22, 2020 more than a month before the friction between the two countries started on September 27, 2020. Moreover, the clip does not show an actual military escalation.
The former Soviet states Armenia and Azerbaijan (with Turkish support) are at loggerheads over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, in the latest escalation over what is an unresolved military and regional conflict. Hostilities on both sides started on September 27, which has killed more than 400 and is attracting increasing international attention.
TV9 Bharatvarsh's coverage can be seen below. The channel claimed to have exclusive footage from the battleground, as they even display a TV9 exclusive watermark across the video which shows aerial and ground fire.
The anchor claims that it is footage of an Azerbaijani MIG-25 being downed by Armenian 'Shilka' air defence systems.
Later, in the second part of the video, they go on to share a video claiming to be a Turkish-backed drone strike by Azerbaijan. While the Ministry of Defence of Azerbaijan has shared this footage, they make no mention of a drone strike.
An archived version of TV9's coverage on YouTube can be found here.
Incidentally, BOOM received this video and on its WhatsApp helpline (7700906111). The video is circulation with the below caption:
"An Azerbaijani ground attack aircraft was shot down by Armenian s using Shilka weapon system.The pilot did more than one maneuver to strike the ground defences of the Armenian air defence forces.A fierce war is on.A fascinating clip"
The full video can be seen below.
BOOM also found this video to be viral with this caption on Facebook, with one post getting more than 81,000 views.
BOOM ran reverse image searches on key frames on the video and found that it is from a video titled 'A-10Warthog Thunderbolt CRAM', with the description stating that it is linked with ARMA 3. The game was released by Bohemia Interactive which is set in 2030, where one can undertake various futuristic military operations through fictitious character US Corporal Ben Kerry.
The video can be seen below, and it was uploaded on August 22, a month before latest Armenian-Azerbaijani clash broke out. It has more than 1.3 million views.
This video is customised, and is not part of the original gameplay. Gamers can use game editors to make custom player modifications, and thus it cannot be found in walkthroughs of the original game. Another customised clip from ARMA 3 was spun with a false narrative earlier this year to show that the US has carried out a missile strike on Iran, around the time when the US eliminated Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Baghadad on January 4.
BOOM has debunked the story here.
Bohemia International confirmed ARMA 3's customisation capabilities to AFP Factcheck with respect to the previously debunked video.
In the second part of TV9's coverage, an aimed attack on infrastructure through thermal imagery can be seen. TV9 claims that it is an attack on Armenia by Azerbaijani through Turkish-backed TB2 drone. While the Azerbaijani-Ministry of Defence did release the footage - stating that it was a nighttime attacked on Armenian infrastructure, weapon and ammunition depots and "headquarters" - it makes no mention of the model of the drone used or that of Turkish backing.
The video can be seen below, and on the website of the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence.
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