Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division

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On October 18th, 2022, during a daytime program of the pro-Kremlin “Sezoni TV,” the host Nikoloz Mzhavanadze discussed the Russia-Ukraine war with guests Tristan Tsitelashvili and Vazha Otarashvili.

According to one of the guest speakers, since September, the Ukrainian side has launched a counterattack in two directions, Kharkiv and Kherson, claiming that the counterattack in the direction of Kharkiv was unsuccessful, and on the Kherson side, Russia “ceded” certain territories, regrouped its forces and created defensive barriers. The same speaker also noted that the Ukrainian units had suffered heavy losses, and Russia had them completely surrounded. The speaker’s comment was followed by the footage, which, according to the host, showed the destruction of the Ukrainian tank division. While showing the footage, the speaker noted that “the clash took place in an open field”. The footage in the program is used to demonstrate the alleged military superiority of the Russian side.

Screenshot 1 6 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank DivisionScreenshot 2 5 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division

The footage shown in the daytime program of “Sezoni TV”, allegedly depicting the destruction of the Ukrainian tank division, is not authentic and is taken from the video simulation created in the video game Arma 3. As for Ukraine’s counterattack – as a result of a successful counterattack in the direction of Kharkiv, Ukraine regained control over the Kharkiv district, and in the direction of Kherson, Ukraine regained the territory of 1,200 square kilometres. The counterattack continues, both in the south, in the direction of Kherson, and in the east – in the direction of Donetsk-Luhansk. (thurmondeye.com)

  • The footage used in the program is from a simulation created within a video game

The footage presented in the program represents simulated shots from the Arma 3 video game developed by the Czech company Bohemia Interactive. Аrma 3 is a tactical shooter simulation game. The footage used in the program is cut from one of the videos published on the YouTube channel MILMAN. A simulated video shows the destruction of Russian tanks by the Ukrainian side with the NLAW anti-tank system. Videos created with the Arma-3 simulator have been published on the channel since July 2022 and are thematically related to the Russia-Ukraine war.

Screenshot 3 5 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division

The channel description states that all videos are made using the Arma 3 simulator. Information about the video game is also indicated in the descriptions and titles of the respective videos.

Screenshot 4 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division

The shots used in the Sezoni TV program are of low quality, making it difficult to distinguish that they are created using computer graphics. In the original video, it is clear that the shots are animated.

Scenes used in the program Scenes from the original video
Screenshot 5 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division Screenshot 6 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division
Screenshot 7 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division Screenshot 8 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division
Screenshot 9 5 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division Screenshot 10 3 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division
Screenshot 11 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division Screenshot 12 3 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division
Screenshot 13 2 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division Screenshot 14 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division

Notably, the footage from the same computer game was also used by the Channel One of Russia while airing a story about the Russian soldiers who died in February 2018. In the story, the author was talking about a Russian soldier who died in Syria, where footage from the game Arma 3 was played to describe the combat operations. For more information on the topic, see:

On August 29th, 2022, Ukraine announced the launch of a counter-offensive operation in the southern direction, but then the battle line shifted towards Kharkiv. One of the guests of the program, Tristan Tsitelashvili, notes that the counterattack in the direction of Kharkiv was unsuccessful, but, in fact, the attack was one of the most successful military operations, as a result of which Ukraine liberated hundreds of settlements and regained control over Kharkiv district.

Screenshot 15 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division
Territories returned by Ukraine towards Kharkiv (purple) as of October 9th. Source: BBC/ISW

According to the Ukrainian side, as a result of the counterattack that started at the end of August, by October 9th, Ukraine had regained an area of ​​1,200 square kilometres in the direction of Kherson. In October, Ukraine regained control over a number of settlements in the Kherson region.

According to the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), an American military think tank, the Ukrainian counterattack is currently continuing in the south, in Kherson, and in the east, in the direction of Donetsk-Luhansk. According to the data of October 19th, significant battles were going on in both directions.

Screenshot 16 4 Pro-Russian Actors Use Videogame Footage to Illustrate the Elimination of Ukrainian Tank Division
Green arcs on the map mark the area where a significant battle has been taking place in the last 24 hours – data from October 19th. Source: ISW

It is worth noting that the latest report of the Institute of War Studies, dated October 19th, states that it is expected that Russia is setting information conditions to justify planned Russian retreats and concession of important territories in the Kherson region. Commander of Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine Army General Sergey Surovikin noted that “difficult decisions” had to be made regarding the Kherson region and stated that Ukraine was planning to attack civilian infrastructure. Vladimir Saldo, the head of Kherson’s occupation regime, has repeatedly mentioned that the evacuation of the population from the western bank of the Dnipro River is planned in anticipation of a large-scale Ukrainian counterattack. According to the assessment of the think tank, Russia is attempting to “set information conditions for a full Russian retreat across the Dnipro River, which would cede Kherson City and other significant territory in Kherson Oblast to advancing Ukrainian troops.”


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Country: Russia, Ukraine
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Mzhavanadze Nikoloz

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