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13 Feb, 2015 13:13

Busted: Kiev MPs try to fool US senator with ‘proof’ of Russian tanks in Ukraine (PHOTOS)

MPs in Kiev hoodwinked a US senator, presenting his office with photos of columns of Russian military hardware allegedly roaming Ukrainian territory. The photos turned out to have been taken during the conflict in South Ossetia back in 2008.

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.

READ MORE: 5 years after 5-Day War: Russia and Georgia bury the hatchet

UPDATE: Serious questions raised about authenticity of Inhofe's Ukraine photos. Some from Georgia '08. More info: http://t.co/vrv9yn8mxh

— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) February 12, 2015

“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.

Update: Inhofe answers my questions about providing incorrect 08 AP photo on Ukraine photo release http://t.co/wv3c3kOCb1

— Adam Kredo (@Kredo0) February 13, 2015

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.

READ MORE: 'Secure West Point training': Ukrainian battalion leader lists US tour plans

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.

Russian tanks, soldiers / Photo provided by Sen. Inhofe

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.”

Russian tanks, soldiers / Photo provided by Sen. Inhofe

“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.”

Writer and journalist John Wight has told RT that the West has to ramp up the demonization of Russia to influence public opinion.

"There is a policy agenda with regard to Russia, with regard to NATO expansion, with regard to the expansion of the EU, with regard to isolating Russia – and everything is tailored to fit that policy agenda, including the truth. So anything that can be done to enlist support, the key determining factor of course is public opinion both in the UK and the US in particular, which has just had a decade of war. The public is war weary. So they have to ramp up the demonization of Russia. They have to fabricate Russia’s intentions and Russia’s actions in order to enlist that support of public opinion when it comes to possibly intensifying the conflict, which I fear we are in danger of seeing happen."