No, Russia didn’t capture a US Patriot missile launcher to give to China

Did Russia really capture a bunch of US missiles in Ukraine and give them to China? No, but posts featuring that bit of fake news have been garnering thousands of views on social media since May 13. Many of these posts feature a photo said to show these missiles in China. While the photo was indeed taken in China, it actually shows a non-operational replica of these missiles, according to military experts interviewed by our team.

If you only have a minute…

  • A photo that has been circulating on social media since May 13 shows a battery of US Patriot missiles being transported on a Chinese flatbed truck. These posts claim that Russia captured the missiles in Ukraine and then gave them to China.

  • It turns out that the missiles in the photo are actually non-operational replicas used for training. The missiles in the image are missing essential components, say the military experts we interviewed.

The fact check, in detail

A photograph showing a battery of US Patriot missiles being transported on a flatbed truck in China has garnered more than 335,000 views on Facebook and X since it was first shared on May 13.

The image is said to show "a Patriot complex secretly captured by Russia in Ukraine”, according to a caption on a widely circulated post. The photograph does seem to have been taken in China. The name of the Chinese town of Suzhou, located near Shanghai, is written on the truck and its licence plate is from Tianjin, a port near Beijing. The photo also features a street sign written in Mandarin.

A fake battery

Ryan McBeth spoke to our team: