Nov. 15 (UPI) -- Photos the Russian defense ministry has cited as evidence the United States is aiding the Islamic State terror group in Syria are from a video game.
Earlier this month, the ministry posted the pictures online and said they constituted "irrefutable proof" that U.S. grounds forces are providing cover for Islamic State combat units "to recover" their capabilities to promote U.S. interests in the Middle East.
Russia said the black-and-white aerial images show IS convoys on Nov. 9 leaving Abu Kamal in eastern Syria, toward areas controlled by the U.S.-led coalition.
Computer gamers, though, have pointed out that at least one of the images presented by the ministry are from the video game AC-130 Gunship Simulator: Special Ops Squadron.
Observers say another is a still photo from a YouTube video published March 25 and others are from Iraqi Ministry of Defense videos posted last year.
"It's time for Moscow to drop the propaganda and disinformation, and focus on destroying our common enemy," U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said.
Though apparently debunked, the photos remain on the Russian ministry's Twitter page.
Former Kremlin security adviser Vladimir Frolov told The Independent that the claims suggested a "lack of adult supervision" in the ministry.
"This is something that would be impossible in Soviet times. Russia faces only one major military threat, and that's the one from its bonkers press service," he said.