The video is authentic and was captured on Aug. 6, 2023, at Fifty Beach Club in Kyiv.
Neither the party nor the video of it proves that the war in Ukraine is fake or a hoax. Kyiv is located more than 300 miles from the active front line, where Ukrainian and Russian troops were fighting as of the date this article was published.
In August 2023, a video went viral on social media that allegedly documented a party at a beach club in Kyiv, Ukraine. Users shared the clip as purported evidence that the war between Russia and Ukraine was a hoax, or that supporters of Ukraine were exaggerating the conflict's threat to the country.
"The war in Ukraine is FAKE," one tweet read, sharing the video that showed people drinking and talking in swimsuits around a pool.
The war in Ukraine is FAKE. pic.twitter.com/l63GG7oUTl
— Stew Peters (@realstewpeters) August 7, 2023
"There is currently a party at the Beach Club in war-torn Kyiv Ukraine, please keep the people of Ukraine in your prayers," another social media user wrote with apparent sarcasm.
(Twitter user @dom_lucre)
With a similar tone, another social media user wrote, "BREAKING: The Biden administration has approved $300 Million in additional aid in the form of Beach Towels, Sun Screen and Sun Glasses," making light of U.S. funding to help Ukraine defeat Russia.
While it was true the footage authentically depicted a beach party in Kyiv, posts that framed the scene as evidence of the war being fake were misleading. Kyiv, where a nightlife scene has remained active since the early months of the war, is more than 300 miles from the active front line, where Ukrainian and Russian troops are fighting.
We tracked down the source of the viral video. The footage was originally published on Aug. 6, 2023, by TikTok user @zhadyft. That account linked to an Instagram profile with a bio reading, "I am from Romania, but my heart is in Kyiv."
After the video started circulating widely, @MarinescuEdwar1 wrote on Twitter that they intended for the footage to show "people in Ukraine can live a normal life" during the war. That post read:
I am the original author that made this video on my TikTok page and I am only showing that people in Ukraine can live a normal life thanks to all the air defense systems that we have received from USA, Germany etc. pic.twitter.com/JmbmTrc5id
— Marinescu Edward (@MarinescuEdwar1) August 7, 2023
The video was captured at Kyiv's Fifty Beach Club, according to its author and the comparison of the video in question with social media footage published by the club. When we looked for the Fifty Beach Club on Google Maps, the location showed a warning in reference to the war, reading:
Information about this place may be outdated. Always pay attention to real-world conditions, which may be rapidly changing.
As of this writing, the club's website was active. According to Snopes' Ukraine-to-English translation of its homepage, the club advertised:
Dive into summer with #FIFTYBEACH
The beach at FIFTY BEACH is an ideal place for summer vacation. A place in Kyiv where all the beauties of the capital sunbathe. We dance to the sets of the best didjiks, swim in the outdoor pool and sunbathe.
Fresh air, gorgeous view, great company and the most delicious cuisine. If you rest, then only so. We will become your favorite beach in Kyiv!
We also found Instagram and Facebook profiles representing the club. While browsing the Instagram profile on Aug. 6, 2023, we found various videos and pictures shared as stories — i.e. clips that would disappear from the account after 24 hours — that showed a scene similar to the in-question video. Moreover, numerous social media users shared similar content on the same day, tagging the club.
As we noted above, Kyiv is located a few hundred miles from the active front line. During the war, much of the capital city's dining industry has attempted to remain open. The city enacted curfews when martial law was introduced at the beginning of Russia's invasion, in attempt to protect the civilians during the night. In March 2023, that curfew was relaxed from 11 p.m. to midnight, which meant clubs could stay open longer than before.
After a prolonged silence, Kyiv nightlife is roaring back.
Many people are venturing out for the first time since the war began. To drink by the river. To meet a friend. To sit at a bar and have a cocktail. Or three.
This is a city full of young people who have been cooped up for two years, first because of Covid and then the war with Russia. They yearn for contact. War makes that urge even greater, especially this war, where a Russian cruise missile can take you out, anywhere, anytime.
And now that summer is in full swing, and the heavy fighting is mostly concentrated in Ukraine's east, hundreds of miles away, Kyiv is finally feeling a little less guilty about going out.
"This was a big question for me: Is it OK to work during the war? Is it OK to pour a cocktail during the war?" said Bohdan Chehorka, a bartender. "But the first shift was the answer. I could see it in the customers' eyes. It was psychotherapy for them."
Similar to the video of the beach club, in May 2023, videos of Ukrainian citizens allegedly partying in nightclubs and bars went viral. Some of those clips were circulating under misleading pretenses — they were posted before Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 — though the timing of others remained uncertain.