Late Monday evening, the Russian Defense Ministry released an update from their invasion of Ukraine. Here they claimed to have stopped a Ukrainian offensive in the southern parts of Donetsk. In the process, the Russians are said to have destroyed 28 Ukrainian tanks, including eight long-delayed German Leopard tanks. At least they themselves brag about it.
On Tuesday, they published the “proof” in the form of the following video:
– The destruction of foreign armored vehicles, including Leopard tanks, the Russian Ministry of Defense wrote under the video posted on cable.
There is only one problem for the Ministry: There are ample indications that it is not the Leopard tanks that are being blown up. Rather, it is about agricultural machinery, according to pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian sources.
– It was a very large Russian Telegram account that exposed them for the first time, mocking Konashenkov (Ministry of Defense spokesman, editor’s note). Russia’s Defense Ministry is taken as seriously by its military bloggers as it is by everyone else, wrote a pro-Ukraine Twitter user. @employee.
Wagner leader Yevgeny Prigozhin commented on the video in an audio clip on Telegram on Tuesday night.
– Today the Russian Ministry of Defense released an impressive work, he says sarcastically.
– You can clearly see how the Leopard tanks are moving in a strange tactical maneuver – towards each other. Prigozhin adds that these tanks are disguised as agricultural harvesters, but that did not prevent our forces from seeing enemy equipment in them.
– We thank you for your great work. The Wagner director concludes that we want to destroy everything that has a bent barrel.
In another message, Prigozhin also questioned the fact that Russia managed to destroy 8 Tigers and 20 other tanks and take out more than 1,500 Ukrainian soldiers within one day, as the ministry itself claims.
– I think this is just a wild and bad fantasy. Collect all numbers from Konashenkov. Then I think we killed the entire planet five times over, he writes Wagner leader.
John Deere harvester
Russian military bloggers almost line up when it comes to criticizing the ‘Leopard’ video:
— Attentive users have noted that the battered machine looks a lot like the John Deere 4830 kit, Military Blog writes. Repar.
– And rightly so, if you zoom in on the video, you can see something reminiscent of an agricultural machine, they add.
Also Read: Shook by the Russian video: – It’s very amateurish
Moreover, the pro-Russian channel apologized that one can always hit the wrong target in a war. They promote the possibility that the Department of Defense may have released the video in error, and they don’t actually want to spread publicity.
So they came up with what might look like a Russian defense critique:
– That is why we want the Ministry of Defense to check the published materials more carefully. Ribar concludes that statements about the destruction of Leopard 2 should not be made until after hard evidence.
They are not alone.
– Shameful, we have no words, writes the Military Code Millenfolio.
Moreover, they write that this proves how bad the Russian Ka-52 helicopters are, and that the conversation between the pilots indicates that they attack “just for safety.”
– The target turned out to be an agricultural tractor with a spreader, on which you can clearly see the wheels, wrote Milinfolive.
– To hell with the tractor
Others try to defuse what is by all accounts a Russian attempt at propaganda:
— one tractor less, wrote Russian military correspondent Alexander Sladkov, with nearly a million followers cable.
– Internet trolls argue about whether this is a tank or a tractor. Let’s call it a combat training target, Sladkov writes further.
Sladkov also tries to excuse the Ministry a bit, saying that no one has adequate evidence that this is actually a tractor. On the contrary, the video is evidence of a possible tank destruction, as Sladkov claims:
– If he’s a tractor, let him go to hell. And he concludes that if we come across a tank, that means we destroy the tank.
The Norwegian expert shakes his head
This is not the first time that the Russian Ministry of Defense has published what appears to be something very different from what it claims. In September last year, the Russians released a clip that was supposed to show a Russian combat helicopter taking off a boat with Ukrainian soldiers along the Dnipro River.
At that time, error detection was easier. Instead of a boat fully loaded with Ukrainian special forces, the Russian helicopter fired a missile at a bridge post standing in the middle of the river.
– It looks completely amateur, you can’t say anything else. “I don’t understand what they were thinking when they posted the video,” Lars Peder-Haga told Nettavisen at the time. He is an associate professor at the Norwegian Air Force School and an expert on Russian air power, military power, doctrine and operations.
The shaft is supposed to be the remains of a bridge that was blown up by the Nazis during World War II.
“It’s so unprofessional, it looks as if the Russians are being pressured into offering something, without actually having anything real to show,” Haga told Nettavisen in September.
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