A digital advertisement released by the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, which originally ran from September 8th and 13th, 2020, presumably called for citizens to support the US troops and showed several soldiers with fighter jets above their heads.
All would be in order; however, the picture is a stock photo featuring Russian-made fighter jets, and Russian models dressed as Russian soldiers.
“That’s definitely a MiG-29,” said Pierre Sprey, who helped design both the F-16 and A-10 planes for the U.S. Air Force. “I’m glad to see it’s supporting our troops.”
He noted the angle of the aircraft’s tail, the way the tail is swept far back, and the spacing of the engines, along with the tunnel between them, Politico cited him.
Ruslan Pukhov, director of the Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies in Moscow, confirmed that the planes are Russian MiG-29s, and also said the soldier on the far right in the ad carries an AK-74 assault rifle.
The image in the ad is a stock photo available on Shutterstock.com with the title “Military silhouettes of soldiers and airforce against the backdrop of sunset sky.” The creator of the image, named “BPTU,” says they are based in Andorra, but did not respond to a Facebook message.
Following the initial reports, the author – Arthur Zakirov, confirmed in a Facebook message that it shows a 3D model of a MiG-29, and that the soldiers were Russian models.
He said it was a composite photo created five years ago and taken in three different countries showing Russian sky, Greek mountains and French ground.
“This is a completely recreated scene from various photographs of mine,” said Zakirov, a 34-year-old oil company analyst and hobbyist photographer based in the Russian city of Perm.
“Today you hear about the Kremlin’s hand in U.S. politics. Tomorrow you are this hand,” he joked, saying he found the fact that his photo ended up in a Trump fundraising ad “pretty funny.”
“Everything happened through inattention,” he said, adding that the campaign had “bad fact-checking.”
The Trump campaign did not respond to a request for comment. The Republican National Committee declined to comment.
The US Armed Forces can rest easy, however, knowing that even the Russian Armed Forces are on their side.
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