dead birds
Social media is awash with conspiracy theories after photos and videos posted online showed a Russian street littered with birds' corpses. The incident happened in Balakovo, a city best known for its large nuclear power plant.

According to a post from the page 'Typical Balakovo', on the Russian social networking site VK, residents of the city, in the Saratov Region, around 1,000km south of Moscow, witnessed a road strewn with dozens of dead birds.

In the comments below the video, locals were quick to suggest a number of reasons why such a large number of birds had fallen to the ground. While some pointed to natural phenomena, such as strong winds or the accidental collision of two flocks, others blamed fireworks, emissions from factories, and even 5G - even though it hasn't yet come to Russia.

"At the beginning of the TV series 'Chernobyl', all the birds died," said the most-liked comment, linking the event to the HBO hit.

Saratov's veterinary department is currently investigating the incident, with some suggesting the deaths could be linked to a spate of avian flu. However, not all Balakovans trust local expertise. "Vets in the Saratov hinterland are unlikely to be competent," wrote one user. "We should call in specialists from Moscow, where all the best personnel go to make lots of money!"