Yesterday, a report was widely spun across Russian media, both fringe and mainstream, of a militant being killed in a Ukrainian Army’s drone strike, as per the self-styled “DPR chief” Denis Pushilin. According to Pushilin, the man was killed in a blast after the UAV allegedly dropped an explosive.
Russia Today, an infamous propaganda outlet known for its outrageous misinformation and manipulative reporting, went even further, clarifying that it was the bomb that was dropped, which gently hints at the use of the Bayraktar TB2 strike drone. It should be noted that this is precisely this type of UAVs that Ukraine is now using for aerial recon along the Donbas front line.
Quite expectedly, despite the unprecedented nature of the alleged incident, neither the site of the strike, nor the aftermath of the blast, including parts of the ammo used, nor the body was shown in Russian media (despite the fact that the Russians often resort to overly graphic reporting when trying to accuse the target of their disinformation.
So the BREAKING news pretty much boils down to Pushilin’s claim, backed by… nothing. So much for an almost Shakespearean tragedy, although I’m not saying Russian propagandists can’t do better eventually.
Not so long ago, I suggested that Russia could stage a violent provocation where civilians would be killed in the occupied Donbas, to blame the Ukrainian army and create a casus belli. As proof, Russia could use the used U.S.-made ATGMs and MANPADS, I wrote.
Last week, Russian propagandists circulated a false report claiming the Ukrainian Army had mortared the non-gov’t-controlled areas with 60-mm munitions, purportedly supplied by the United States – apparently oblivious to the fact that no such weapons were delivered from across the Atlantic, which turned the whole effort into a huge blunder.
But let’s get to the main point…
The fact is that it is well and long known that Russia has in its disposal the downed Bayraktar TB2 UAV. Also, , thanks to Russia’s participation in the Syria and Libya conflicts, they also got hold of some elements of Turkish ammunition for such drones, at times used even against Russian targets, such as the Pantsir-S1 air defense systems.
It is also a known fact that Russia is extremely jumpy about Ukraine having obtained Bayraktar TB2 UAVs, so Moscow’s information attacks could be directed including against this type of weapon. Therefore it’s possible that Russia could use whatever they have brought back from Syria and Libya in order to accuse Ukraine of using Bayraktars, say, against the civilians in Donbas.
This kind of scenario should not be ruled out either, on par with the staging of NLAW or Javelin strike by the “insidious” Ukrainian Army against the defenseless population of the “DPR/LPR.” Moreover, the allegation has already been test-run. The only thing left for the invaders is to better plan an act of provocation.
This doesn’t mean, however, that Ukraine isn’t prepared for it.