Fact check: Dancing in Kyiv bars continues as war rages in parts of Ukraine

·5 min read

The claim: Video showing people dancing at a bar in Kyiv proves the war in Ukraine is fake

On Sept. 8, hours before Ukraine's military mounted a surprise counteroffensive in the Kharkiv region that forced Russian soldiers to hastily retreat, the Pentagon announced the Biden administration would be sending an additional $675 million in weapons, ammunition and vehicles to Ukraine. The administration has given Ukraine $15.2 billion in total aid since President Joe Biden took office.

But false claims that the war is fake continue to circulate on social media, and a recent Instagram post peddled that notion with a video showing crowds of people dancing to music outside at a bar.

"So far the US has given $40B to the fake war," the Sept. 5 post's caption reads. "This is Kyiv, Ukraine yesterday. They’re now asking for another $13B."

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The video garnered more than 200 likes in its first day. Similar viral iterations have been shared on Twitter and Facebook.

The claim is false. Extensive footage and photographs captured by international outlets demonstrate the war is real. Numerous international organizations have fundraised and placed sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

USA TODAY reached out to the user who shared the claim for comment.

An Ukrainian serviceman walks out of a basement which, according to Ukrainian authorities, was used as a torture cell during the Russian occupation, in the retaken village of Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) ORG XMIT: XLC104
An Ukrainian serviceman walks out of a basement which, according to Ukrainian authorities, was used as a torture cell during the Russian occupation, in the retaken village of Kozacha Lopan, Ukraine, Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022. (AP Photo/Leo Correa) ORG XMIT: XLC104

Russia-Ukraine war is real

USA TODAY has addressed numerous false claims that the war in Ukraine is staged. There is no evidence to substantiate those claims.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine was announced on Feb. 24 by both the Kremlin and the president of Ukraine.

The war has been verified by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration and the International Rescue Committee.

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It has been extensively reported on and photographed by numerous news outlets, including the Associated Press, Reuters and BBC News, as well as international news correspondents on the front lines. Combat and wreckage has been filmed by outlets such as The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal.

In response to the invasion, many countries have placed sanctions against Russia.

Organizations like UNICEF, the American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders continue to raise funds and send aid to those in Ukraine affected by the war.

Video was filmed at bar in unoccupied area of Kyiv

The video in question was filmed at the Hangover bar in Kyiv, which is now relatively distant from ongoing combat operations. The outdoor setup is the same as the one shown in a video on the bar's Facebook page.

Victor Arnautovic, a spokesperson for the bar, told USA TODAY that there is nothing about the current status of the war that prevents people from "dancing in the non-occupied areas of the country."

Even so, Hangover did respond to criticism directed at the bar for allowing dancing while the country suffered losses from the invasion in a Sept. 1 statement on Instagram.

"We all live in this unjust war and its realities," the post's caption reads. "Hangover opened its doors in June with a restaurant concept only, where we didn’t play loud music to respect the people that fight for the values and freedom we all believe in."

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According to the post, the bar's management consulted with staff and members of the military before recently reopening as a bar with dancing and music in compliance with the law.

The bar held a charity concert on Aug. 28 to raise funds for the military.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that a video showing people dancing at a bar in Kyiv proves the war in Ukraine is fake. Extensive footage and photographs captured by international outlets demonstrate the war is real. Numerous countries and international organizations have fundraised and placed sanctions in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. 

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Ukraine war is real despite video of dancing at Kyiv bar