The German Leopard 2 tank is considered a high-tech weapon. He could be feared in the Ukraine war. Russia now boasted of an alleged downing. (Symbolic image) © Federico Gambarini/dpa
The counteroffensive in the Ukraine war is underway. Russia's propaganda boasts of the destruction of a Leopard tank. But it was probably just a tractor.
Moscow - Embarrassing blunder of Putin's propaganda machine: Russia's Defense Ministry has apparently presented fake images of an alleged shooting down of a German Leopard tank in the Ukraine war. According to the analysis of several military experts, the video is more likely to show the destruction of a tractor. But why? To dispel possible concerns about a Ukrainian counteroffensive with Western miracle weapons in their own ranks?
Ukraine-News: Shooting down of Leopard tank turns out to be a propaganda lie
In fact, the Kremlin wanted to send positive news to its own troops in view of Ukraine's imminent major offensive. Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu had publicly announced the shooting down of eight German Leopard tanks. In addition, he then also provided the alleged video evidence of the propaganda lie.
Destroyed leopard was a tractor or combine harvester
But military experts now claim to have uncovered the fake. "Russia has destroyed two combine harvesters," said the expert of the Bundeswehr University of Munich, Carlo Masala, on Twitter. Numerous military bloggers made similar statements. The video shows the destruction of a tractor, the pro-Russian military blog "Vojenny Osvedomitel" judged after viewing the pictures. And the nationalist blogger "Fighterbomber" came to the conclusion that the footage must already be more than a year old. If this is true, then Ukraine would not have had Leopard tanks from Germany at that time.
Counteroffensive: Leopard-1 and Leopard-2 are used in the Ukraine war
The Leopard tanks are considered a gamechanger in the Ukraine war. After much hesitation, Germany has provided Ukraine with more than 100 tracked vehicles in the defensive fight against Russia. For the most part, this is the old, discarded Type 1 model. Most recently, however, the German government of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had also seen the delivery of some Type 2 tanks. The Leopard 2 model is one of the most modern main battle tanks in the world.
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For the expected counteroffensive, the tanks from the West play an important role. According to military observers, the counterstrike against the Russian troops should have begun long ago. But in the first months of the year, the weather had not cooperated. In addition, many of the Western weapons systems were still missing. But in the meantime it is assumed that the major offensive has begun. Volodymyr Zelensky's government does not want to give an official starting signal, but increasing fighting is reported almost daily on all five important sectors of the front.
In the case of Russia's army, combat effectiveness is certainly a cause for concern. In recent days, reports of fleeing soldiers have repeatedly surfaced. It is true that the Russian army leadership had the front line massively fortified by digging kilometer-long defensive trenches and possibly made it impossible for the tank army to advance in the south of the country by blowing up the Kakhovka dam. But thanks to many Western rocket launchers, Ukraine can also attack far behind the front line.
Propaganda in the Ukraine war: Both sides spread fake news
In the end, however, much remains speculation. This is because most of the information cannot be independently verified. And in the Ukraine war, both warring parties are engaging in disinformation campaigns. Corrective's research collective, which has been trying to analyze all false reports and fake news since the outbreak of the Ukraine war, accuses both Ukraine and Russia of targeted propaganda. After a year and a half of war, disinformation is "one of the most important and powerful weapons," according to a report. (jkf)