Correction: After our story was published, Ruptly.tv contacted Polygraph.info via email, saying the TV media outlet “acquired and published without editing as received on November 25” a short version of the ramming video.
Ruptly also said, it published the full version, “as soon as (Ruptly.tv) were able to obtain” it. Ruptly.tv is correct that the original fact check did not note the full video was published the next day, November 26. (Click here to watch it).
However, we have confirmed the full version of the video was available on Sunday, November 24, the day before Ruply.tv published the abridged video.
Several Russian state-owned TV channels broadcasted the full version of the video on November 25. That includes the state TV channel Rossiya-24, with its flagship news show Vesti.
We have no means to independently confirm that Ruptly.tv did not edit the first, shorter version, of the video, which is posted on its website and also put out on social media – the video we featured in the original fact check.
Below is the original fact check:
On November 25, Ruptly, the video service of the Russian state-owned media outlet RT, released a video purporting to show Russian Coast Guard vessels intercepting Ukrainian vessels that had allegedly “breached Russian waters.” A comparison with the same video as shown by Western news web sites reveals a very important difference.
The Ruptly video leaves out the most important part of the original video – which showed the Ukrainian tugboat slowing to a stop. The original video, shot from the Russian Coast Guard vessel shows it holding its course until it rams the stopped tugboat.
After the edit, we see the tug moving away from the Russian vessel again, and a Ukrainian navy patrol boat moves in front of the Russian ship’s bow from port to starboard. From accounts of the incident, two Ukrainian patrol boats responded to the tugboat’s distress call after it was rammed by the Russian vessel. Both of these boats were fired upon, with some Ukrainian crew members suffering minor wounds before they were captured along with their vessels. After this brief scene, during which the Ukrainian patrol boat is visible for a few seconds, the Ruptly video loops back to the beginning.
Also missing is the original audio. In the original video, a Russian voice is heard onboard the Coast Guard ship, cursing and shouting orders at the Ukrainian tugboat crew. He then can be heard apparently ordering his subordinates to ram the tugboat. The more complete version is on the BBC YouTube channel:
Lastly, the video’s title claims that the Ukrainian vessels had breached Russian waters. On Monday Polygraph.info quoted a Ukrainian maritime expert, publisher of the Black Sea News, who released an analysis showing that the Ukrainian ship was at the 12-mile coastal boundary, at the boundary of international waters, off the coast of Crimea which Ukraine still claims. As for the Kerch Strait itself, which is well less than 12 miles wide, a treaty from 2003 between Russia and Ukraine designates the Kerch Strait and the Sea of Azov as “internal waters” of both Russia and Ukraine, and grants freedom of passage to both Russian and Ukrainian commercial and military vessels.