Russian Federation posts video game screenshot as 'proof' of United States helping IS

Marie Harrington
November 15, 2017

Russia's defense ministry on Tuesday posted images it said proved the U.S. was aiding the Islamic State jihadist group in the Middle East, but social media users pointed out they included a still from a videogame.

The images were later deleted from the ministry of defense's Twitter and Facebook accounts, and the ministry said several hours later that there had been a "mistake", and published a different set of pictures, calling them "irrefutable proof" of USA aid of IS.

The game in question is none other than AC-130 Gunship Simulator for Android and iOS.

Commenters picked up the fact that the Russian MOD published a video from a video game and subsequently mocked the mistake.

Russia's Defense Ministry, however, remained adamant that the USA was indeed "covering ISIS combat units to recover their combat capabilities, redeploy, and use them to promote the American interests in the Middle East" and shared new images it claimed were meant to be attached to the original post.

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The photographs have been deleted after the fact-checking organisation Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT) accused the ministry of using a video game screenshot and old conflict photographs. The image went viral nearly immediately, but it was quickly debunked once someone recognized that the image was actually from a 2015 trailer for AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.

In the corner of the image, however, a few letters of the developer's disclaimer can still be seen: "Development footage".

In violation of a previously reached agreement, attack aircraft of the coalition entered the airspace over Abu Kamal to hamper the work of the Russian air force, the ministry said in a statement. After the images were called out by sharp-eyed readers on social media the Ministry of Defense immediately began taking the posts down. It later reposted the same statement with different images.

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

A later press release said it had launched a probe into the actions of a civilian employee of one of its subdivisions who "mistakenly attached photos" to the first version of its statement.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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