VERA FILES FACT CHECK: NO ‘secret NATO bunker’ in Ukraine struck by Russia


A Tiktok video shared on Facebook (FB) is erroneously claiming that Russian forces destroyed an underground hidden bunker in Ukraine that belongs to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), allegedly killing hundreds of military officials. This is not true.

One of the video clips used was digitally created. Also, Ukraine is not a member of the military alliance, thus there can be no NATO forces on the ground. 

On May 3, a Filipino FB user posted a video originally published by TikTok account @tv13media, managed by a person who mostly talks about current military conflicts. It bore this untrue caption: 

“For the 1st time in this war Russia used 6 sophisticated but expensive hypersonic [Kinzhal] missiles to hit a NATO bunker hidden 400 ft underground where 100s of senior NATO officials directing the war were hiding. NATO is severely crippled & Most of the 100s of officers killed were from Britain, US & Poland, but there’s completely no report about their deaths in the Western media.”

The voice-over narrative claimed that it was reported in the news that “the NATO command center in Ukraine was hit by Russians hypersonic missiles causing heavy losses among NATO officers.”

An online cursory search also showed no legitimate news report about Russia destroying a supposed NATO bunker which housed hundreds of high-ranking military officials. There are also similar false claims debunked by foreign fact-checking organizations.

In NATO’s frequently asked questions about its response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the alliance says Ukraine is a partner country, not a member, and only “cooperates closely with NATO but it is not covered by the security guarantee in the Alliance’s founding treaty.”

Helping Ukraine to this end means “NATO helps to coordinate Ukraine’s requests for assistance and is supporting Allies in the delivery of humanitarian and non-lethal aid,” while its individual member countries and allies are sending weapons and other military equipment.

At around the 37-second mark, the erroneous two-minute video showed three consecutive short clips supposedly taken during the bombing which it claimed to have occurred on April 26. The clips featured the following:

  • A blurry shot of a fighter jet firing a missile mid-air;
  • A large explosion causing a mushroom cloud to emerge behind a house nearby;
  • And a still shot of burning debris while black smoke rises into the sky.

The clips do not support the claim that Russia struck a NATO command center in Ukraine. One clip was digitally created and not real. The two others were taken or made at least a year before the alleged April 26 Russian airstrike, a reverse image search showed.

Note: Click on the photos to view their original source.

This video emerged after Ukrainian forces intercepted a Russian hypersonic missile over their capital Kyiv using the United States’ Patriot Missile Defense System.

The false video continues to circulate online and has garnered over 2,700 reactions, 1,200 comments, 1,100 shares and 83,000 views.

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(Editor’s Note: VERA Files has partnered with Facebook to fight the spread of disinformation. Find out more about this partnership and our methodology.)