IN SHORT: A video clip of the Russian president is doing the rounds on social media, accompanied by English captions claiming Putin issued a warning to the US related to the war between Israel and militant Palestinian group Hamas. But the captions are fabricated. Putin was speaking in December 2022 about nuclear weapons in the Russia-Ukraine war.
A video circulating on social media in October 2023 claims that Russian president Vladimir Putin has issued a stern warning to the United States, saying: “America should not interfere in #IsraelPalestineWar, if America does that we will openly help #Palestine”.
The clip, viewed over 600 times, includes a recording of Putin speaking in Russian, with English captions alleging Russia’s support for Palestine: “I am warning America. Russia will help Palestine and America can do nothing.”
Israel and Palestine have been in conflict for decades. On 7 October, Hamas began an attack on Israel from Gaza. Rockets were launched and thousands of armed men crossed the Gaza border to kill a reported 1,400 people in Israel.
The Gaza Strip is a narrow densely populated and very poor territory that lies mainly within the borders of Israel, bordering Egypt to the south. The people who live there are mainly Palestinian. Gaza has been ruled by Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, since 2007.
Israel responded with its own rocket strikes into Gaza and declared war on Hamas on 8 October. Thousands more Palestinians and Israelis have been killed as the war continues.
Video with fake translations
Our search also revealed that the clip used in these posts was much older than claimed. The original clip was uploaded to YouTube by news outlet USA Today on 8 December 2022, a day after it was recorded and some ten months before the recent escalation of violence in the region. This original video matches the circulating clip’s speech, hand and mouth movements.
Putin was speaking at a meeting with Russia’s Council for Civil Society and Human Rights about his country’s war with Ukraine, which started in February 2022 when Russia invaded its southern neighbour.
The correct translations of Putin’s speech show that he was speaking about nuclear weapons in the context of the Russia-Ukraine war. Part of his speech translates to: “Regarding threats of nuclear war … this threat is growing. There is nothing to hide here.” He went on to say that Russia would use nuclear weapons as a defensive tactic.
This translation is reported both in the USA Today clip captions, and confirmed by other media reports here and here. The meeting transcript released by the Russian government, known as the Kremlin, also does not mention Israel or Palestine.
This clip is one of many stories that news outlets such as Reuters say form a “surge of disinformation” circulating around the events in Palestine and Israel.
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