Russia Tried to Pass off a Video Game as Combat Footage

"Regarding Abu Kamal, this is not the only case when the US spares terrorists", Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov was quoted as saying by Russia's official TASS news agency on Tuesday.

It repeated the claim it was "irrefutable evidence that United States are actually covering Isis [IS] combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East". Instead, it said, American forces interfered with Russian air operations, allowing ISIS to recover and redeploy.

The ministry's official account said the black-and-white images were taken on November 9 near the Syria-Iraq border and provided "irrefutable proof that the U.S. is providing cover to IS combat units".

Soon after people noted the dubious origin of the photographs, the defence ministry deleted its tweets, and removed the photographs from the corresponding Facebook posts.

Earlier on Tuesday, the ministry posted a statement on its Facebook page saying the US air force had tried to hinder Russian strikes on Islamic State militants, accompanied by satellite photographs it said showed a vehicle convoy of Islamic State militants leaving the Syrian town of Albu Kamal on November 9 2017. According to PCGamesN, the screenshot is from a gameplay footage video for a game called AC-130 Gunship Simulator which was uploaded to YouTube by its developer.

It said the US-led coalition refused requests to cooperate and "eliminate fleeing Isis convoys".

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The Conflict Intelligence Team fact-checking group said the other four provided were also errors, taken from a June 2016 video which showed the Iraqi Air Force attacking IS in Iraq.

If the idea of American forces in league with the Islamic State isn't absurd enough, it gets better: One of the screen captures was from a video game.

This isn't the first time the Russian government has been caught distributing fake or misattributed video.

The Kremlin denied that Putin had shown the wrong footage to the American director Oliver Stone during one of a series of interviews.

The Russian military is investigating claims that a civilian employee attached the bogus images, state-run media reported later Tuesday.


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