Fact Check: Russia’s lost ships in the war against Ukraine but this decommissioned US vessel is not one of them

The Russian navy has reportedly taken several high-profile losses while battling Ukraine since February 2022. Putin’s naval forces have so far lost at least several “Raptor” patrol boats, a landing ship, a landing craft, and most notably the Moskva, the flagship of its Black Sea Fleet.

As the invasion wages on, a video has gone viral on social media that allegedly shows a missile strike on a Russian ship while at the sea. The video did not, however, mention where the ship was attacked or who attacked it.

The India Today Anti Fake News War Room (AFWA) found the claim was false. This video shows a sinking exercise performed on a decommissioned US ship during the 2016 Rim of the Pacific drill.

AFWA Probe

Reverse-searching the video’s keyframes on Yandex revealed plenty of results. The top result was an article in that featured the same video. The headline for the July 2016 story said, “Watch the Navy Send a Retired Frigate Out With a Bang.” The article said the video showed the US Navy along with its allies sinking an old frigate as part of a drill in the Pacific Ocean.

While the article confirmed that the video was not recent, we checked for more credible sources to confirm the origin of the video.

On the verified YouTube channel called ‘AiirSource Military‘, we found a longer version of the viral video.

The video was titled, “Sinking A Navy Frigate With Missiles And Torpedoes SINKEX Sinking Exercise,” and it was uploaded to the channel on July 17, 2016. The description of the video reads, “Aerial video of the sinking exercise (SINKEX) of the decommissioned USS Thach (FFG 43) during Rim of the Pacific 2016. The decommissioned ship is fired at with missiles and torpedoes until they sink.”

Following this, we ran a keyword search for the Rim of the Pacific or RIMPAC 2016, the world’s largest international maritime warfare exercise. According to the Daily Mail, decommissioned ships are stripped of their weapons and used for target practice by the forces of the US, Canada, Australia, and South Korea during the biennial event. The report, which had images of the frigate being taken out in plenty, stated the naval and air units of the United Forces took 12 hours to sink the 2013-retired USS Thach near the Hawaiian Islands.

According to, on July 14, 2016, the old frigate fell prey to the missiles and torpedoes of the four allies. CNN’s video story on the same that used similar footage can be seen here.

Thus, it became clear that the claim that the video showed an attack on a Russian ship was baseless. It showed the sinking of an old US frigate as part of the RIMPAC drills in 2016.

Fact Check: Russia’s lost ships in the war against Ukraine but this decommissioned US vessel is not one of them

ClaimVideo shows a Russian ship being hit by missiles amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.ConclusionThis video was shot during RIMPAC 2016, a maritime warfare exercise. It shows a decommissioned US frigate being sunk as part of an exercise by joint forces of the US, Canada, Australia, and South Korea.


The number of crows determines the intensity of the lie.

  • 1 Crow: Half True
  • 2 Crows: Mostly lies
  • 3 Crows: Absolutely false

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