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Russia Misrepresents Ukraine Farm Drones as Chemical Weapon

An aerial view shows corn stalks planted by Ukrainian farmers in the shape of the national coat of arms, trident, ahead of the country's 30th anniversary of independence, in a field near Boryspil International Airport outside Kyiv, July 22, 2021. (Gleb Garanich/Reuters)
Russian Embassy in Egypt

Russian Embassy in Egypt

“These drones were presumably used to spray toxic chemicals to cause harm to both the Russian armed forces and the civilian population …”

Likely False

This fact check has been corrected.

On April 13, the Russian Embassy in Egypt shared a video claiming to show drones used by the Ukrainian forces to spray toxic chemicals on Russian troops and Ukrainian civilians.

“During a routine check of a military unit abandoned by Ukrainians three unmanned aerial vehicles were found ... These drones were presumably used to spray toxic chemicals to cause harm to both the Russian armed forces and the civilian population,” the embassy tweeted in Arabic.

The claim is likely false. In fact, U.S. and European officials suspect that Russia is contemplating use of chemical weapons in its war on Ukraine.

The drones in the video are commercial, not military units. One of them carries the logo of the Chinese company DJI, which makes agricultural drones for spraying herbicides, pesticides, fertilizer and other uses.

According to its official website, DJI has a network of offices and training centers across Ukraine, including in the capital Kyiv, the western city of Lviv and the Black Sea city of Odesa. The company did not respond to requests for comment from

In 2020, Ukraine was among the top 10 global exporters of agricultural products, mainly corn and wheat, and the world’s biggest exporter of seed oils. With farmers in southern Ukraine preparing for the planting season, economists are predicting Russia’s war in Ukraine is triggering a global food chain crisis.

On the video tweeted by the Russian Embassy in Egypt, a man in a military uniform says in Russian that the Russian military found, along with the three drones, a remote control unit that contained the locations of Russian troops and Ukrainian towns.

The man does not say where the drones were found or which towns were allegedly targeted.

The uniformed man says the drones are equipped with containers that can carry up to 30 kilograms of liquid, but he does not say whether the liquid visible in the containers is a toxic chemical. Nor is the man wearing any protective gear.

The video from the embassy includes the logo of RT – the Russian government-owned media organization. The same video with the English subtitles was posted on the RT Twitter feed and was rapidly shared by others.

Correction: A prior version of this fact check wrongly reported that the agricultural drones in the RT video were made by the Chinese firm XAG. regrets the error.