Russian social media is abuzz with hilarious claims
As heavy fighting continues in parts of eastern Ukraine, Russian social media has been awash with claims about the destruction of a US M1 Abrams tank near Soledar. These claims, however, were met with humor by netizens, as Ukraine does not yet have an Abrams tank in its arsenal.
The Center for Countering Disinformation of the National Security and Defense Council said in a Telegram post: “Enemy sources claim that the Russian Armed Forces army destroyed the first American M1 Abrams tank near Soledar, with a simple RPG-18 Mukha . [“Fly”]not less.
“This is a primitive fake Russian propaganda with an old photo that was not taken in Ukraine. The occupiers are not bothered by the fact that the United States has not yet delivered a single such tank to Ukraine.”
As seen in the image below, green trees are visible at the bottom of the tank, indicating that the photograph was taken in spring or summer. The war-torn country of Ukraine is currently covered in snow, further proving that the image is not from Ukraine, and indeed not recent.
After news of the Russian claims went viral on social media, one Twitter user wrote: “I especially like the green leaves on the trees in January.”
#Russian propagandists report the destruction of an M1 Abrams tank.
However, these tanks have never been delivered to #Ukraine️. pic.twitter.com/OnQYE5qRGV
— NEXT (@nexta_tv) January 21, 2023
Some Twitter accounts immediately began to dig in and said the image was actually from 2010. However, EurAsian Times was unable to independently verify where the image was initially taken.
This is not the first time netizens have made a claim that was mocked by Ukrainian officials, military observers and netizens alike. Earlier this month, netizens claimed that four US-made Bradley fighting vehicles were destroyed in Ukraine and had not reached the country.
The first Bradleys have not yet managed to reach Ukraine, but that does not prevent the Russian Defense Ministry from declaring that 4 Bradleys have already been destroyed. Which means that the total number of Bradleys in service in Ukraine is now minus 4. pic.twitter.com/mcyDP1XumY
— Special Kherson Cat 🐈🇺🇦 (@bayraktar_1love) January 12, 2023
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told a news conference that Ukraine lost four Bradley Fighting Vehicles (BFVs) during the hostilities. “During the battle in this direction, the enemy (Ukraine) lost 11 tanks, 17 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), including four US-made Bradleys,” Konashenkov said.
At the time, Konashenkov was not only mocked for making claims that were far from the truth, but also for what became known as “under-researched” propaganda.
Just over a week later, Russian netizens mocked themselves by claiming to have destroyed an Abrams tank.
That is why the Abrams tank does not want to go to Ukraine. He doesn’t like winter. pic.twitter.com/v5chFYotNa
— Avia.Pro – News, events, media (@avia_pro) January 21, 2023
Meanwhile, a US Abrams tank could be seen fighting in the snow in an entirely separate video that has also gone viral on social media. A Twitter user wrote, “The US Armed Forces M1 Abrams main tank was not suitable for winter use. Even though the heavy combat vehicle has great power, just a few inches of snow could stop the armored vehicles.”
These tanks have been seen lately as transported through Germany according to open source intelligence. Military analysts and observers have stated that they could be headed for Poland to replenish their stocks or they could have been destined for Ukraine. There has been no confirmation on the matter from Berlin or Washington.
No Abrams for Ukraine… yet!
The United States and some of its European partners recently announced major new arms deliveries to Ukraine, including armored vehicles and heavy weapons.
The United States estimated the value of the military assistance package at about $2.5 billion, which includes armored personnel carriers, air defense systems and thousands of artillery shells and rockets.
According to a statement issued by the US Department of Defense, there will be 90 Stryker armored personnel carriers and 59 Bradley fighting vehicles.
Yet despite pledging a whopping $2.5 billion in assistance, Washington again stopped short of announcing the M1 Abram tanks Ukraine has been pushing for. The Pentagon’s top policy adviser, Colin Kahl, said the Pentagon was not yet ready to meet Kyiv’s orders for gas-guzzling M1 Abrams main battle tanks.
“I just don’t think we’re there yet,” said Kahl, who had just returned from a trip to Ukraine. “The Abrams tank is a very complicated piece of equipment. It is expensive. It is difficult to train. It has a jet engine.”
While Ukraine has long been pleading with NATO to send state-of-the-art main battle tanks, these pleas grew louder after Britain announced it was ready to send Challenger-2 tanks to Kyiv.
There is mounting pressure on Germany to arm the beleaguered country with Leopard-2 tanks, or at least authorize their transfer from third countries.
However, it appears that Germany has based its decision on sending Leopard tanks to Ukraine if the US decides to send Abrams to Kyiv. A source in the Bundeswehr has said that if the United States agrees to send its tanks, Germany will allow tanks to be sent to Ukraine to help its defense against Russia.
In that context, Russia’s claim to destroy a tank that the US has yet to decide on has only been portrayed as another futile propaganda exercise.