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With Eastern Europe in turmoil following the invasion of Ukraine, a Facebook post shared hundreds of times claims Russian President Vladimir Putin is “in South Africa”. The post includes a video broadcast showing Putin arriving in the country for alliance talks. However, this is misleading: the video was filmed in July 2018 ahead of the 10th summit of the BRICS group, which was hosted by South Africa.
“President Putin in South Africa,” reads the Facebook post, which has been shared more than 400 times since it was published on July 15, 2022 and features a video of Putin and his delegation disembarking from a plane.
A screenshot of the misleading Facebook post, taken on July 18, 2022
The footage comes from an actual news item produced by the country’s national broadcaster, SABC. The “Breaking News” headline in the bulletin says Putin “arrives in SA for the 10th BRICS summit”.
BRICS is an alliance of states comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
However, the 10th summit was held in Johannesburg’s upmarket Sandton business district four years ago. Putin attended the gathering along with the leaders of the other member states.
(L to R) India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, China's President Xi Jinping, South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa, Russia's President Vladimir Putin and Brazil's President Michel Temer pose for a group picture during the 10th BRICS summit on July 26, 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa ( POOL / MIKE HUTCHINGS)
A Google search of the video’s title strap shows SABC News uploaded a three-minute video of its original broadcast to YouTube on July 26, 2018.
The last BRICS summit was held virtually on June 23, 2022, when Putin called on the group’s leaders to support him and his war in Ukraine.
AFP released an image from the Moscow meeting.
Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via a video link at the Kremlin in Moscow on July 15, 2022 (SPUTNIK / AFP)
A few days later AFP reported that European foreign ministers had insisted that sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine were working.
Russia, in the meantime, has begun to disrupt gas supplies to Europe, threatening the energy security of countries, like EU industrial powerhouse Germany.