Ukraine: No, a video does not prove the Russian airstrike on a cathedral in Odesa was staged

A church personnel inspects damages inside the Odesa Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, July 23, 2023
A church personnel inspects damages inside the Odesa Transfiguration Cathedral in Odesa, Ukraine, Sunday, July 23, 2023 Copyright Jae C. Hong/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Sophia Khatsenkova
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Multiple social media accounts falsely argue the attack is fake because a woman in the video can be seen picking up the debris with a little too much ease.


Was the Russian airstrike on a cathedral in Odesa, southern Ukraine, staged as multiple Twitter users claim?

The Transfiguration Cathedral was damaged by a Russian airstrike at the end of July 2023. Two people were killed and 22 were wounded. 

In the following days, volunteers helped to clear the rubble.

But certain social media users are claiming the attack was staged, sharing low-quality footage of an excerpt from a Sky News report of people cleaning up debris after the strike. 

The report shows a woman removing rubble from the cathedral. These accounts claim that because the woman has no issue carrying what they believe are concrete blocks, it's proof the attack was faked. 

One user even says: It’s all just a movie,” suggesting the people in the report are actors carrying movie props. 

By doing a reverse image search, The Cube found the original news report produced by Rudaw, a media outlet based in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.

The better quality of the video shows the woman holding a material made up of small white bubbles resembling polystyrene. 

It’s a material that’s commonly used in construction as insulation and is quite light. 

Other fact-checkers including those from the UK-based group Logically also came to similar conclusions. 

The July attack was the second time the Transfiguration Cathedral was hit by a Russian military strike.

The church was destroyed back in 1936 by the Soviets and rebuilt starting in the early 2000s. 

This is not the first time that pro-Kremlin accounts have spread false claims in order to deny the casualties or damage caused by Russian forces. 

Euronews had debunked false claims such as the pro-Kremlin narrative that denies the killing of civilians in Bucha

These false claims completely disregard that more than 9,000 civilians, including over 500 children, have been killed since Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine, according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission.

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