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Fact-Check: is Russia Moving Nuclear Equipment Near Finland’s Border?

Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine triggered a historic shift in Finland. Though closely aligned with NATO, it was never formally a member.  

That changed last week when Finland became the 31st country to join the Western military alliance. 

In retaliation, the Kremlin threatened to take “countermeasures” and ramp up its defence on the 1,300 kilometre it shares with Finland.

This has led to misinformation spreading on social media, with the latest viral video claiming to show nuclear equipment arriving in the Russian city of Vyborg, near the Finnish border.  

But internet sleuths were quick to find the location of the clip. They geolocated it to a town northeast of the capital of Moscow, called Kolchugino. 

Google Street View shows the exact same buildings and intersection which match the video on Twitter. 

When it comes to the missile systems in the clip, they have been identified as RS-24 Yars rocket systems handled by Russia’s Strategic Rocket Forces, which are capable of launching nuclear warheads, according to Snopes.

But their passage in the city centre is also typical of parades. Every 9 May, Russian authorities host the Victory Day Parade to commemorate its victory at end of World War II. 

These sorts of missiles and other impressive equipment are showcased every year, like in this video from last year’s Victory Day parade. 

Kolchugino happens to be a city through which these missile launching systems transit to and from the parade in Moscow. 

For example, Snopes found this video from May 13th 2015 titled the “Return of equipment from the Victory parade to Moscow through Kolchugino”. 

The same intersection and missile launch system can be seen in the Youtube video above as in the viral Twitter post. 

According to the Russian forces’ website, there’s a base about 2 hours away from Kolchugino which carries the Yars missile system. 

Although Euronews couldn’t verify the exact date the Twitter video was filmed, its location as well as the overall context, Russia is not sending nuclear weapons to its border with Finland.

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