Russia’s Defense Ministry proudly announced on Tuesday that its troops had destroyed eight Leopard tanks while it fended off a Ukrainian counteroffensive, offering a dramatic video as evidence. But the fearsome tanks shown in the video turned out to be nothing more than farming equipment: two combine harvesters and a John Deere tractor, according to several pro-Russian military bloggers.
“A disgrace, we just have no words,” wrote the popular Military Informer Telegram channel. “Why the fuck did they pass these off as Leopards?” another pro-Russian channel fumed. The propaganda fail comes after Wagner Group founder Yevgeny Prigozhin, a foe of the country’s top military brass, mocked the Defense Ministry’s claim that Ukraine’s counteroffensive had been “stopped.” “Judging by the Defense Ministry’s announcement… we already defeated all European armies a long time ago, at a minimum,” Prigozhin said via his press service, quipping that the war can now end because Russia has “no one left to fight.” He went on to say that “to mark this wonderful occasion,” he would now get a tattoo on his chest of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, Chief of the General Staff Valery Gerasimov, and Defense Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov.