Fighting fakes: Ukrainian military sold French self-propelled guns to Russia for a pittance

The Insider previously wrote that many media outlets unanimously reported two serviceable latest French Caesar self-propelled guns captured by the Russians, abandoned during the retreat by the Ukrainians. But the story didn’t end there.

There was no confirmation of this fact, not a single photo, only a link to a tweet of a little-known French politician. However, he also “did not bother” with photo confirmation or a reference to a source – quite serious Russian and Ukrainian (from Donbass) media took him at his word. But further – more. The same media reported that the SPGs were sold by the Ukrainians to their Russian opponents for a ridiculous price of $120,000 each. And all the media unanimously refer to the online edition of the Bulgarian Military, the publication of which says:

“French and Ukrainian (from Donbass) sources claim that in the hands of the Russian army, or rather in the production shops of the Russian manufacturer Uralvagonzavod, there are two 155-mm Caesar self-propelled howitzers, donated by France to Ukraine as military assistance against the Russian invasion on February 24.”

The same mysterious sources report, according to the publication, that two Caesar self-propelled howitzers were sold by Ukrainians through an intermediary to Russians. The price discussed in narrow circles is $120,000 apiece. BulgarianMilitary.com recalls that the cost of a Caesar self-propelled howitzer is around €7 million.

Sensation? But what is it based on? On what basis did the Bulgarian Military experts come to this conclusion? The author of the article Boyko Nikolov writes:

“A political analyst at BulgarianMilitary.com says that the possibility that the two howitzers were sold to Moscow is evident in the tone and ending of the words of the French lawyer and politician Régis de Castelnau . To him [французскому юристу] it is quite clear that during the war, in addition to prisoners of war, opponents acquire various foreign equipment. This is a war, some die, others give up their positions out of fear, and still others profit from the war. The commentary’s ending – ‘Thank you, Macron, we pay’ – suggests that Régis de Castelnau believes that the two howitzers were not abandoned and therefore captured, but sold. The irony in this particular case is too strong to be ignored,” says Dr. Sebastian Levy, BulgarianMilitary.com correspondent and analyst for the Middle East region.”

Dr. Levy, judging by the website of Berlin’s private institute Hertie School, where he teaches, is a researcher on climate change policy and public attitudes. A legitimate question arises The Insider, how did he discern in the words of Régis de Castelnau a hint at the sale of self-propelled guns? It is impossible to understand. Obviously, he criticizes the government for the decision to transfer expensive weapons to Ukraine, which ended up in the hands of the enemy, but there is no word on how this happened in his tweet. Further, the author of the publication Nikolov adds:

Levy also says that he believes the two self-propelled howitzers were resold through an intermediary, a military dealer. Levy, however, has no proof of his claims, but refers to the considerations expressed in the circles to which he belongs.

Now it becomes clear on what basis we are offered to consider that the French artillery installations were sold. And for greater persuasiveness, they say that there have already been cases of arms sales by the Ukrainian military to the enemy, referring to a certain pro-Russian Telegram channel.

Little is known about the publication of the Bulgarian Military (more precisely, the blog). About itself, it indicates that it is included in Feedspot’s “Top 60 Military Websites and Blogs” and Expertido’s “Best Military Blogs”. Feedspot is a content aggregator that compiles lists of sites on a wide variety of topics. Nothing indicates that they are judged by experts in their respective fields. The Expertido lists look about the same.

Publications in the Bulgarian Military are signed either by Boyko Nikolov or by the pseudonym TOC. At the same time, it cannot be said that this is a pro-Russian site: among its “sensational” materials (an article by the same Nikolov) there is, for example, a publication that Russian factories refuse to repair armored vehicles coming from the Ukrainian front – burnt bodies are often found inside it. It seems that the site is simply aiming to publish sensational materials, not particularly bothering with fact-checking, writes stopfake.orgquoting The Insider.

Earlier, Russian media, citing the German publication Bild, disseminated information that the armed forces of the Russian Federation took possession of the Panzerhaubitze (PzH) 2000 howitzer, which Germany had previously transferred to Ukraine as military assistance. The Bild publication did not publish information that the Russian armed forces allegedly took possession of the German PzH 2000 howitzer, previously transferred by Germany as military assistance to Ukraine. Moreover, the journalists of the German edition of Welt were unable to find any confirmation of the information disseminated on the network. Also, the Russian side did not provide any photo or video evidence that this self-propelled guns really ended up in the hands of their military, reports stopfake.org.

It is noteworthy that the Russian media cite the German publication Bild, which allegedly was the first to publish information about the loss of the PzH 2000. At the same time, the hyperlink, which supposedly should have led to the Bild article, redirects readers to the main web page of the publication. StopFake carefully checked the Bild publications posted on the site during the last week. The mentioned article about the “captured” ACS PzH 2000 is not there. In addition, a search on the site using the keywords “PzH 2000” and “Panzerhaubitze 2000” also did not give a positive result.



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