The Russian Ministry of Defense released a barrage of statements to state-owned media outlets this week, claiming that an American F-22 fighter was chased away from Russian bombing runs in Syria by the Kremlin’s advanced Su-35s fighter. There’s just one problem: according to U.S. officials in CENTCOM, this first interaction between these two storied fighters never took place at all.
According to Russian officials, a single U.S. F-22 intercepted two Russian Su-25 close air support aircraft as they were conducting bombing runs on ISIS targets west of the Euphrates on November 23rd. Their statements go on to claim that the F-22 was attempting to prevent the Su-25s from continuing their runs by “simulating” a dog fight.
“The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight,” Major General Igor Konashenkov told the Kremlin-backed RT, an outlet that recently had to register as a foreign agent in the United States. According to the general, the F-22 then broke off its engagement and ran off when the more modern Su-35s joined their older counterparts.
Per the statements of the general, the F-22’s actions were “just another example” of American forces protecting ISIS militants, a claim the Kremlin has levied on a number of occasions. Recently, the Kremlin released a video they claimed “proved” the U.S. was working to support ISIS in Syria, only to have the footage exposed as fake almost immediately.