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Old video of US, Canadian soldiers used to depict war in Ukraine

Claim: A user on Facebook shared a video of an acclaimed tug of war between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers amid the ongoing war.

The narrative in the video depicting a tug of war between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers amidst the ongoing war is false. The soldiers in the video are not Russian and Ukrainians, but Canadian and United States soldiers back in 2012.

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One user on Facebook with the username, Topic News, shared a video of an acclaimed tug of war between Russian and Ukrainian soldiers amidst the ongoing war in Ukraine. The user accompanied the video with a short description that reads: “One on one tug of war, Russia Vs Ukraine.” 

The three minute-video depicted two soldiers with distinct military gear engrossed in a heated tug-of-war contest, surrounded by cheering spectators of other soldiers. 

Over 3 million users viewed the video, leaving behind over 62 thousand reactions and close to 3 thousand distinct comments. For most of these users who commented, this video was a heartwarming relief to see enemy soldiers having fun amidst the heated crises. 

Maryjane Fernandez, who commented on the post, said the tug of war between the two acclaimed Russian and Ukraine soldiers is better than killing each other. Alicia Ello even added that it is heartwarming to see unity promoted: 

“Happy to see this fun time, they have each other so nice if their peace and unity will connect with each other’s heart,” she wrote. 

Other users even congratulated the acclaimed Russian and Ukraine soldiers. As one user, Neru Baculi, wrote: “Russian and Ukrainian soldiers. Nice seeing you as friends. God bless you.”

While the claim might be a heartwarming aspiration for peace lovers around the world, the Russian-Ukrainian crisis has given rise to multiple misleading information since its start. A good reason DUBAWA is attempting to uncover the veracity of this claim. 


DUBAWA first ran a frame-by-frame analysis of the acclaimed video on InVid video verifying tool. The results showed the video was first posted on 22nd March 2012 by a YouTube channel titled “31 Canadian Brigade” with the caption: “One on one soldier Tug of War, Canada vs USA.”

A screenshot of the  actual video on YouTube

The actual video on YouTube offered a detailed description of what the video was about. It was a tug of war between Canadian soldiers and American soldiers.

 “Prior to the departure of 31 Canadian Brigade Group (31 CBG) personnel from Camp Atterbury, Indiana, Canadian soldiers observed US National Guard soldiers playing an interesting version of the game Tug of War. 31 CBG soldiers were fascinated by the spectacle and cheered on the competitors. Finally, one young Canadian soldier dared to challenge the hometown crowd, and put national pride on the line. In this video, Master Corporal John Celestino of the Windsor Regiment (left), participates in a game of Tug of War with a US National Guard soldier (right). This version of the game builds esprit de corps and really works the leg muscles,” the description of the video outlines. 

Even more, the two competing soldiers depicted in the video had the flags of the United States and Canada on their uniforms. 

A screenshot from the actual video showing the two competing soldiers with the flags of the Canada and  the United States on their uniforms


The actual video was that of American and Canadian soldiers playing tug of war during a joint military exercise back in 2012, and not of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers amidst the ongoing war. As such, this claim is false.

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