The fake video of the Paris attack was not made by the Ukrainian government
A video showing Paris being bombed has been created by filmmakers to raise awareness of what the future would look like if Russia continued its invasions.
Editor’s Note: This story contains graphic content.
On March 11, the official Ukrainian parliament Twitter account posted a startling video that appears to show a woman standing in front of the Eiffel Tower, just before the tower was hit by bombs.
“Is the famous Eiffel Tower of #Paris or the Brandenburg Gate in #Berlin stand under endless bombardment by Russian troops? Do you think this does not concern you? Today it’s #Ukrainetomorrow it will be all of #Europe. Russia will stop at nothing,” the tweet said. This video has had over 2.2 million views.
Oleksandr Merezhko, Chairman of the Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Committee also posted the video.
The events depicted in the video are not real; Paris is not currently bombarded. But online, people wonder whether the Ukrainian government commissioned the video to spread anti-Russian propaganda.
Did the Ukrainian government commission a propaganda video showing Paris being bombed?
- French film producer Jean-Charles Lévy
- Director Olias Barco
No, the Ukrainian government did not create or commission a video showing Paris being bombed. Jean-Charles Lévy, the producer of the video, told VERIFY that he and director Olias Barco created it to raise awareness of what could happen if Russia continues its invasions. They received no payment from anyone, including the Ukrainian government, for the video.
WHAT WE FOUND
The video begins with a woman posing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. The tower then appears to be hit by bombs and the woman runs off camera. Screams can be heard in the background.
The video then shows jets flying overhead, with air raid sirens blaring in the background. The video shows a destroyed Eiffel Tower and other buildings in Paris. A message in English appears at the end of the video: “Imagine if this were to happen in another European capital.
A quote from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also appears on screen: “We will fight to the end. Give us a chance to live. Close the skies over Ukraine or give us fighter jets. If we fall, you fall.
Even though the video was widely shared by Ukrainian government social media accounts, it was not created by the Ukrainian government, French film producer Jean-Charles Lévy told VERIFY by phone.
Lévy and French director Olias Barco created the video. The couple wanted to raise awareness to show the world that what is happening in Ukraine can happen anywhere, Lévy told VERIFY. Barco spoke to French publication Le Monde from a location in western Ukraine and echoed those sentiments.
“[The video is] something I wanted to do myself, with producer Jean-Charles Lévy, to electrocute the West. For me, we are in a third world war and this conflict will generalize. It’s a science fiction film, not a propaganda film,” Barco told Le Monde in French. Barco quotes have been translated using Google Translate.
Lévy and Barco have been working in Ukraine for about four years and instead of posting the video on their social media accounts, they sent it directly to people they knew in Ukraine in the hope that it would then be released in line. Lévy said he was surprised by the virality of the clip. He has since posted the video to his own Instagram account.
“It went viral because it hits people, which is what we wanted,” Lévy said. “What’s important to understand is that the idea was not to do propaganda or spread false information. We don’t want people to watch a piece of fiction…and start thinking that’s the concept. We are filmmakers who have the means and the tools to tell people what is happening and what could happen.
Using visualizations to create an air strike on Paris was part of the plan – to try to show the world that Ukraine needs air support or a no-fly zone to defeat Russia, said Levy. Military analysts say Britain and its European allies are unlikely to impose a no-fly zone because it could easily escalate the war in Ukraine into a nuclear confrontation between NATO and Russia, reports the Associated Press.
“What Ukraine needs more than ever are the means to defend itself from the air. That’s what kills them,” Lévy said.