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Misleading Content Accuses China of Assisting Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

Khadija Boufous Khadija Boufous
28th September 2022
Misleading Content Accuses China of Assisting Russia's Invasion of Ukraine
Chinese officials have reportedly demanded talks to end the conflict (Getty)

Misinformation continues to pervade reports of Russia's war against Ukraine, which has been ongoing for nearly seven months.

As Russia launched a week-long military exercise involving Chinese forces, social media users circulated purported footage of Chinese military convoys on the Russian border.

According to Misbar's research, the clip purportedly depicting Chinese tanks in Russia was originally posted online in May 2021.

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Another viral video claiming to show Chinese military convoys entering Ukraine and joining forces with Russian forces was posted in August 2022.

The video was uploaded to YouTube on August 29, 2022, with a Russian-language caption that read, "PLA to take part in Vostok 2022 land exercises." 

PLA is an abbreviation for the Chinese military force known as the People's Liberation Army.

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A video purporting to show Russians fleeing to Finland after Putin ordered a partial military mobilization on September 21 also went viral.

The Russian influencer who recorded the clip stated in a YouTube video that the footage was taken out of context. He insisted that the video demonstrates a queue at the Vaalimaa border crossing and was recorded before Putin's speech.

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Despite the Finnish Border Guard's announcement that the Russia-Finland border was unaffected, many users circulated misleading videos claiming a "Chinese intervention."

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Russia’s Military Exercise With China

Late in August, media outlets reported that Chinese forces would exercise in Russia.

The Vostok 2022 exercises began during Russia's invasion of Ukraine and China's conflict with the United States. However, China's defense ministry stated that its participation was unrelated to the current international and regional situation.

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The misleading photos and videos began circulating in late September. However, according to Reuters, the Vostok exercises were conducted from August 30 to September 5.

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According to the BBC, Vladimir Putin expressed China's worries about the situation in Ukraine after their first face-to-face meeting.

Putin told Xi Jinping, the Chinese president, that Russia and China greatly appreciate the "balanced position" of their Chinese friends regarding the crisis in Ukraine.

Despite widespread reports of the meeting, no evidence was presented that China had allied with Russia during the war, and no credible sources mentioned Chinese forces on the Russian border.

During an interview with CBS, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged that there is no evidence that China provided Russia with weapons or "other things Russia has wanted" during the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

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China Requests Negotiations to Ceasefire

After a long week at the UN general assembly, the Russian foreign minister rebuked western nations for "a grotesque campaign against Russians," according to The Guardian. 

China called for a negotiated end to the Ukraine war, stopping short of robust support for Russia.

China, which vowed unbreakable bonds with Putin after the invasion began in February, has not supported Russia, per The Guardian.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi called on Russia and Ukraine to "keep the crisis from spilling over".

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Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, Misbar has investigated numerous false and misleading claims linked to the conflict.

Misbar’s Sources

Business Standard
Global Times
The Guardian
USA Today
IGOR in Russia