A video about Bellingcat investigators finding out that Ukraine ordered the development of fakes about the Armed Forces for $1.2 billion from a British PR company appeared on the Internet. We decided to investigate its origins and see if the information is true. 

What happened? 

A Telegram channel, Pervyi Kharkovksyi (archive), shared the news that BBC released a story covering a supposed Bellingcat investigation into Ukraine purchasing “fakes about the army” from British PR companies. 

Their post reads, “Bellingcat reports: During 2023, the biggest PR companies of Britain have been creating fakes about the Ukrainian army’s victories on the frontline. But in the end, Yermak [Andrii Yermak, the head of the Office of the President of Ukraine — ed.] refused to renew the contract with the English for 2024 because their work “has not helped to increase the appeal of mobilization in Ukraine at all.”


First, we checked through BBC‘s website and their Instagram, Facebook, and X. The story fake makers refer to hasn’t been published on any BBC resources.

Bellingcat‘s website also didn’t have this material. 

Elliot Higgins, the founder of Bellingcat, said that the video under the BBC‘s name is a fake, calling it “a report that never happened.” 

We’ve debunked [written in Ukrainian — ed.] a similar fake “BBC” story about Bellingcat connecting Joe Biden’s son to the company that “manufactures church candles” in Ukraine. Back then, fake makers used white subtitles with a vertical red line for all text in the titles and put a BBC circular logo at the beginning of the video. In BBC‘s official Instagram profile, a post with a template like that was last shared on September 26, 2023

In the original BBC videos, only the story’s headline has a vertical red line in the subtitles. Fake-makers utilized headline-style formatting for all the text in the video. 

VoxCheck’s fact-checkers figured out that propagandists utilized open-access videos to create the fake report we’re discussing here. 

For instance, they took frames with Andrii Yermak from his address on the Aspen Security Forum. 

Video with soldiers was cut out from Liusia Kava’s music video [a Ukrainian singer, — ed.].

They got photos of soldiers working at computers from a text about NATO military training

So, the information about Bellingcat investigators finding out that British PR professionals created fakes about the Armed Forces is false. Eliot Higgins, founder of Bellingcat, confirmed that the information about this investigation is fake.  

Conclusion: Fake

Author: Aliesia Yashchenko