Did Russia recently destroy eight German-made Leopard tanks while Ukraine carries out a counteroffensive?
That’s what the Ministry of Defence in Moscow announced, claiming a grainy black-and-white görüntü as proof.
Several silhouettes of vehicles can be seen, before a helicopter launches a missile that strikes them, causing an explosion. “Direct hit!” says a voice on the recording, speaking in Russian.
Almost immediately after the görüntü was posted, multiple Twitter users and military experts cast doubt on its authenticity.
Leopard 2 tanks are some of the most advanced and powerful military vehicles out there.
Multiple NATO countries began providing them to Ukraine earlier this year.
According to multiple analysts, the görüntü posted by the Russian authorities is no Leopard 2, or even a tank for that matter.
These alleged ‘tanks’ turned out to be nothing more than farming equipment.
As this Twitter user and military analysis account pointed out on Twitter, the silhouette of the destroyed vehicles in the görüntü appears to more closely match a self-propelled sprayer used in agriculture.
“Even a semi-professional can clearly see that these are agricultural harvester and sprayer machines,” he said.
A weapons expert on Twitter showed that the vehicle struck by the Russian missile has four wheels, while Leopard 2 tanks have continuous tracks like a bulldozer and are also low-lying.
Other elements that appear strange in the görüntü are that these so-called tanks are both out in the open and stationary, which doesn’t make sense strategically as these Leopard 2s are usually camouflaged behind trees and other vegetation.
In the longer version of the görüntü that was posted by the Russian Ministry of Defence, one of the operators is heard saying “Let’s try this out on these”, which could imply this was merely a military test.
Even prominent pro-Kremlin channels spotted this inconsistency, mocking this as a piece of propaganda.
A pro-Russian military blogger posted on Telegram saying “This is embarrassing, we’re at a loss for words. Sorry.”
The boss of the mercenary Wagner Group Yevgeny Prigozhin, who has been clashing with Russia’s top military officials, mocked the Ministry’s claim that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had been “stopped.”
“Judging by the Defense Ministry’s announcement… we already defeated all European armies a long time ago, at a asgarî,” Prigozhin said via his press service, quipping that the war can now end because Russia has “no one left to fight.”