Fake: Hamas terrorists destroy an Israeli Merkava tank with weapons allegedly sold to them by Ukrainians
Russian propagandists have disseminated a photo claiming to depict an Israeli Merkava tank destroyed by Hamas terrorists using weapons allegedly sold to them by Ukrainians.
In reality, this image is a fake. Furthermore, the russians employed… their own tank to create the photo.
The photo is, in fact, a GIF extracted from a video showcasing an Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) company from the 66 Mechanized Brigade destroying a russian T-90M Proryv (Breakthrough) tank. The original video was shared on the official social media account of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, specifically on X (Twitter).
At that time, Oleksandr Syrskyi, the Commander of the Land Forces of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, reported that Ukrainian military forces had successfully eliminated 25 enemy tanks, including the T-90 that had been praised by the russians.
It appears that propagandists have recognized their silly mistake, leading to the removal of the post on some Telegram channels. Nevertheless, the video continues to be actively shared by foreign users, particularly in Arabic-speaking communities.
The video is being disseminated by accounts with over 100,000 followers, as well as by anonymous accounts that are likely automated bots.
This appears to be a targeted information campaign, and it’s dangerous for us. Over the past two days, following the attack by the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Israel, russian propaganda has actively pushed a narrative to Western audiences, asserting that terrorists are using Western-style weapons that were allegedly transferred (sold) to them by Ukraine.
russia’s dissemination of such fakes serves two objectives.
The first goal is to tarnish Ukraine’s reputation in the eyes of its Western partners who provide us with military aid. For several months, russia has been propagating the fake claim that Ukrainians sell weapons on the black market. This narrative is being disseminated through both anonymous pro-Kremlin Telegram channels and official state propaganda media.
Thus, russia aims to portray Ukraine as an unreliable partner, hoping to persuade the West to cease providing weapons to our country.
However, there is no concrete evidence of Ukrainians engaging in the theft of weapons. In particular, during an inspection conducted in February 2023, US Under Secretary of Defense for Political Affairs, Colin Kahl, reported during a hearing at the US House Armed Services Committee that the United States had found no irregularities in the usage of weapons supplied to Ukraine.
The Military Media Centre, a media platform of the Defense Forces coordinated by the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, has reported on the second goal pursued by russia regarding allegations of weapons being supplied to Hamas by Ukrainians. According to their analysis, russia is generating these fakes in order to absolve themselves of any involvement with Hamas terrorists.
In addition, the Military Media Centre highlighted the meetings between high-ranking russian officials and leaders and members of the terrorist organization, emphasizing that “terrorists have long been collaborating with terrorists.” This refers to a meeting that took place in May 2022 when a Hamas delegation visited moscow. According to Arab media reports, during this visit, they met with russian foreign minister sergei lavrov and chechen president ramzan kadyrov.