A video released on social media claimed to show Chechens fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, the territory that Armenia and Azerbaijan both claim as their own. Reporting from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty proved otherwise.
The 37-second clip was actually filmed in Crimea, the Ukrainian Black Sea region that Russia seized in 2014, RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service concluded.
RFE/RL identified several key landmarks in the clip that are located near the Crimean resort town of Morske. The clip may have been filmed earlier this year when several Russian war movies were being made in the Morske area, the network said.
The video came just days after a September 29 Instagram post by the health minister of Russia’s North Caucasus region of Chechnya and a native of Azerbaijan. In the post, he expressed support for Azerbaijan in the fighting with neighboring Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a conflict over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region since the waning years of the Soviet Union but agreed to an uneasy cease-fire in 1994. Heavy fighting erupted on September 27 and lasted six weeks, with both sides blaming each other. Both sides also sought to distort the truth of the conflict. Hundreds of fighters and civilians were killed. A Moscow-brokered truce signed in November ended weeks of heavy fighting.
Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is a private, independent international news organization whose programs — radio, Internet, television, and mobile — reach influential audiences in 23 countries, including Russia, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.