Russia accused of ‘staging’ pictures showing captured US-made vehicles in Belgorod

Russia has accused the west of “growing involvement” in the conflict with Ukraine after releasing pictures of western-made military vehicles it claims were used in a border incursion.

The images, which Sky News has identified as showing US-made Humvees, have been criticised by analysts as being “staged”, with suggestions the scene could have choreographed.

Security and defence analyst Professor Michael Clarke says the “whole image isn’t very convincing”, adding that while it may turn out to be true, “it looks as if two American Humvees have been taken from a low loader and put into this space”.

Sky News has been able to geolocate the images to the Belgorod checkpoint and can confirm from previously released drone video that the two Humvees in the photo were not there earlier this week.

The vehicles also contain Ukrainian markings.

One social media user pointed to a lack of dirt in front of one of the vehicles, which they noted should have been created on impact as it fell into the gap.

Monday’s cross-border incursion into Russia’s Belgorod region has been described as “humiliating” for Moscow.

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Professor Michael Clarke has told Sky News the Russian claim to have killed 70 people

Russia said more than 70 attackers have been killed in the region and the remnants of their units pushed back into Ukrainian territory after two days of fighting.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said: “It is no secret for us that more and more equipment is being delivered to Ukraine’s armed forces.

“It is no secret that this equipment is being used against our own military. And it is no secret for us that the direct and indirect involvement of Western countries in this conflict is growing by the day. We are drawing the appropriate conclusions.”

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Ukraine has denied involvement in the incursion, claiming it was an uprising by Russian partisans.

Two groups operating in Ukraine, the Russian Volunteer Corps (RVC) and Freedom of Russia Legion, have claimed responsibility.

The US State Department said it was “sceptical” about the veracity of the reports and added it does not “enable or encourage” Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory.