Fact Check: Video Shows American Train Carrying Tanks, Not Russian Military Convoy – USA TODAY

The claim: A video shows a ‘huge’ military convoy heading to UkraineSince the Russian invasion of Ukraine, numerous social media posts have shared photos and videos claiming to show the armed conflict. But in many cases, the footage was taken prior to the invasion.

Such is the case with a video shared March 1 on Facebook.

The nearly 10-minute clip shows a train snaking its way through the countryside, pulling a long line of flatcars loaded with tanks. 

“A huge military convoy heading to Ukraine …” reads the caption of the video, which racked up more than 300,000 views within a day.

On March 1, satellite images from Maxar Technologies, a space intelligence company, showed a 40-mile convoy of Russian tanks and vehicles on its way to Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital. But the Facebook video doesn’t show that convoy.

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The same video was published on YouTube in 2017. It was taken in California, not Eastern Europe.

USA TODAY reached out to the Facebook user who shared the video for comment.

Video posted in 2017The Facebook video is at least four and a half years old, as independent fact-checking outlets have reported. 

The original video was published July 16, 2017, on YouTube. Titled “BNSF Military (Abrams Tanks) Train over Tehachapi,” the clip has more than 9 million views.

BNSF is a railway company that operates solely in North America, according to its website. The company has a long history of working with the U.S. military to transport equipment. 

Fact check roundup: What’s true and what’s false about the Russian invasion of Ukraine

“BNSF” can be seen on some of the locomotives in the video. Other engines sport the logo of Norfolk Southern, another American freight company. 

Tehachapi, the location mentioned in the video caption, is a city in Southern California  – not Eastern Europe.

The Tehachapi Pass Railroad Line accommodates an average of 36 freight trains per day, according to the American Society of Civil Engineers. USA TODAY found several other YouTube videos showing BNSF trains in the area.

Our rating: FalseBased on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video shows a “huge” military convoy heading to Ukraine. The footage in question is at least four years old. It shows an American railway company carrying tanks in Southern California.

Our fact-check sources: USA TODAY, March 2, UN votes to demand Russia end war; attacks intensify as mayor vows Kharkiv ‘will always stand’: Live Ukraine updates USA TODAY, Feb. 28, Fact check roundup: What’s true and what’s false about the Russian invasion of Ukraine BNSF, accessed March 2, OverseasBNSF, July 3, 2019, Trains, Tanks, and Troops: How BNSF Has Long Supported the U.S. MilitaryNorfolk Southern, accessed March 2, Corporate Profile City of Tehachapi, accessed March 2, About Tehachapi Lead Stories, March 2, Fact Check: Footage Of Train Carrying Tanks Is NOT Headed To Ukraine — Shows California In 2017American Society of Civil Engineers, accessed March 2, Tehachapi Pass Railroad LineUSA TODAY, March 1, Satellite photos: Tracking the Russian Army’s 40-mile convoy headed to KyivThank you for supporting our journalism. You can subscribe to our print edition, ad-free app or electronic newspaper replica here.

Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.