The photos were “presented to the Armed Services Committee from a delegation from Ukraine in December,” told The Washington Free Beacon Senator Jim Inhofe’s communications director Donelle Harder.
The Americans planned to publish the photos with credits to the Ukrainian MPs, and “they were fine with that,” the spokesperson said.
Yet, after thorough checking, images of the Russian convoys turned to be taken years ago, in 2008 during Georgia - South Ossetia war.
“We are currently making calls to our sources,” Harder said.
“The Ukrainian parliament members who gave us these photos in print form as if it came directly from a camera really did themselves a disservice,” Senator Inhofe said in a statement.
“I was furious to learn one of the photos provided now appears to be falsified from an AP photo taken in 2008,” the lawmaker wrote.
At the same time the revealed forgery “doesn’t change the fact that there is plenty of evidence Russia has made advances into the country with T-72 tanks and that pro-Russian separatists have been killing Ukrainians in cold blood,” the US senator maintains.
The list of members of the Ukrainian delegation that attempted to fool Senator Jim Inhofe does not include high-ranking Ukrainian officials, with probably the sole exception of the commander of the Donbass volunteer battalion Semyon Semenchenko, who visited Washington demanding arms and training for his servicemen.
The Washington Free Beacon said it “regrets the error,” and claims it has obtained new “exclusive” photos of “Russian military forces have been more involved in the arming and training” of the eastern Ukraine self-defense militia. The new photos, allegedly “taken between August 24 and September 5 in the midst of a Russian-backed incursion into Eastern Ukraine … clearly display Russian troops entering Ukraine with advanced military hardware and weapons.”
Senator Inhofe expressed the hope that the new, particularly graphic images, could “act as a wake-up call to the Obama administration and American people” and push the US Congress to back up Senator Inhofe’s bill to supply the Ukrainians with American lethal aid.
Having compared Russians with Islamic State (also known as ISIS, or ISIL), Senator Inhofe said that Ukrainian troops “don’t have anything to defend themselves against these [Russian] tanks,” and called on Congress to give “them the equipment and the weaponry they need.”
“The Obama admin is so slow to recognize” and identify the problems “taking place around the world,” Inhofe said. “They just don’t want people to believe these things are happening,” he acknowledged, adding: “There’s no better way to do that and draw attention to it than letting people see these pictures.”