State-run television in Russia used behind-the-scenes photographs from a Syrian film as "evidence" that the reported chemical attack was staged.
Russia and its ally Syria deny Western claims that scores of people were gassed to death in the suspected attack on the Syrian town of Douma on April 7.
Russian officials insist the attack was “staged,” a claim that the fact-checking website Snopes.com dismisses as “false” given that old film stills have been proffered as proof.
Both Channel One and Rossia 1’s flagship Sunday news show “Vesti Nedeli” used photographs from a Syrian-born director’s 2016 film shoot as "evidence" that anti-government forces falsified the chemical attacks.
“Western politicians and the press are ignoring clear proof that there was no chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma,” a Channel One anchorwoman said Sunday as stills from the movie set appeared on screen.
Pro-Kremlin pundit Dmitry Kiselyov’s “Vesti Nedeli” claimed to have interviewed an “assistant director” of the dramatization. “We had to make sure that the people didn’t look like they were acting but were in fact very sick and were telling the truth,” the man identified as Fares Muhammad Mayas said through a translator.
This is the latest in a string of high-level visual gaffes. Previously, the Russian Defense Ministry used video game footage as “irrefutable evidence” of U.S. support for terrorists in the Middle East, and President Vladimir Putin tried to pass off 2013 U.S. military footage in Afghanistan as the Russian airforce in Syria.