FACT CHECK: Image Claims Ukrainians Hit Su-57 Decoy

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

An image shared on X claims that the Ukrainians hit a Russian Su-57 decoy.

Verdict: False

The satellite image is from June 7, while the attack was on June 8. The person who obtained the image also refuted the claim.

Fact Check:

Ukraine claimed to have hit a Russian Su-57 for the first time with drones, according to Axios. The Su-57 is Russia’s most advanced fighter jet, and the attack took place 366 miles behind the frontlines, the outlet reported.

Social media users are claiming that Ukraine hit a Su-57 decoy and are sharing a satellite image. One user wrote, “OH NO NO, NATO attacked a decoy Su-57. It was just a ground painting of one. HAHAHAHA.”

This claim is false. The image was shared to X by Brady Africk, a media relations associate at the American Enterprise Institute, and the image is dated June 7, while the attack was June 8. His original post does not state that Ukraine hit a Russian decoy.

“Russia’s painted decoy aircraft at Akhtubinsk air base, predictably, did not mislead Ukraine’s drones in a recent attack on the site (which reportedly damaged an Su-57). This base is nearly 600 kilometers from the front line in Ukraine,” Africk tweeted.

Africk also refuted the claim in an email to Check Your Fact.

“My satellite image is not evidence that Ukraine struck a decoy at Akhtubinsk air base. The image I shared is from June 7th and the attack took place on June 8th. The image I shared only shows that there are decoys located at the air base,” Africk said.

GUR shared a satellite image that showed damage to the runway near a parked Su-57. The image was also posted to X by OSINTtechnical. Oryx, a website that tracks visual losses in the Russian-Ukrainian war, also has it listed as a Russian loss (damaged). (RELATED: Time Magazine Incorrectly Used Word ‘Decimate’ In Joe Biden Fact-Check)

Popular Russian military blogger Fighterbomber, who has connections to the Russian Aerospace Forces, said in a Telegram post that the Su-57 was damaged.

Yesterday the airfield in Akhtubinsk was attacked by a UAV. 3 pieces arrived. The Su-57 was damaged by shrapnel; it is now being determined whether it can be restored or not. If not, then this will be the first combat loss of the Su-57 in history,” the post partially reads. 

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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