No, weapons for Ukraine were not used in French riots

Introduction

A false rumor on Twitter has been traced by the BBC back to pro-Kremlin propaganda channels.

The deliberately misleading Twitter post falsely claims that weapons possibly among those sent to Ukraine were used against police in the recent riots in France (summer 2023). The attached image shows a fabricated “screenshot” of a non-existent news article.

BBC Verify reports:

Many misleading posts have been shared online about the recent riots in France, but one viral post last week focused on US military aid to Ukraine.

It featured a screenshot of what appeared to be a headline from a news website, along with an image of two rifles.

“French police are fired upon with American rifles that may have come from Ukraine,” reads the headline.

Several Twitter accounts with Blue subscriptions have shared the post, which has been viewed more than a million times.

BBC Verify has traced it back to pro-Kremlin channels on the Telegram messaging app. The image used in the post appears in a Russian military blog from 2012 about a shooting competition held on a firing range near Moscow.

We have also been unable to find any online articles with the headline and picture as above, and there is no evidence any weapons provided to Ukraine by the US have been used during the recent unrest in France.


Summary

The rumor of weapons sent to Ukraine being used against French police in the recent riots is false.

The fake “article screenshot” and Russian photo source indicate that this Tweet is an example of deliberately falsified disinformation – not incorrect info spread in good faith.

Thank you to Shayan Sardarizadeh and the rest of the team at BBC Verify for this reporting.

All sources:

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