Fake Parody Video from Ukraine Show Russia Killed a TIE Fighter from Star Wars: In wartime, it is often said that the truth is the “first casualty,” and given the horrors of the frontline there likely isn’t much humor.
From the response of the defenders of Snake Island who refused to surrender to Russia and offered colorful defiance, which was commemorated as a postage stamp; to online memes of bold Ukrainians towing away tanks, rockets, and even Russia’s only aircraft carrier (even if the latter were just Photoshopped) – there have been some much-needed moments of levity.
As noted, much of it has been at the expense of Moscow.
Ukraine: Where TIE Fighters from Star Wars Go to Die?
This week, images were shared by the parody social media account Sputnik Not (@Sputnik_Not) showing a crashed “TIE Fighter” on a snow-covered highway purported to be in Ukraine.
Two “Storm Troopers” were seen standing alongside the road apparently waiting for aid – which also caught the eye of some commentators who quickly noted that TIE Fighter pilots wear black flight suits.
However, this wasn’t actually the first time the images of the crashed Star Wars spaceship had gone viral on social media.
The brief video clip first appeared on an Israeli TV news channel a year ago as part of live footage from the actual Russian invasion and had originally been part of an advert produced by Disney and Lucasfilm in 2014 to promote a new Star Wars channel on Sky Deutschland.
The TIE Fighter, which was created through the magic of CGI, was actually shown on the German autobahn and not on a Ukrainian highway.
The original caption stated, “Warning: Unsecured crash on the A3. Please turn right and do not overtake!”
The video began circulating on the popular social messaging app Telegram just days after the Russian invasion last year, and some people apparently believed it was part of real footage of the war.
The editor at Israel’s Channel 13 was even temporarily suspended while an investigation was conducted to determine how the news outlet acquired the video.
In this particular case, most people laughed off the footage a year ago – just as they are doing now. But misinformation has remained a valid concern, especially in the social media era where photos and videos can be so easily misidentified.
In this case, it was pretty easy to spot that this wasn’t real footage from the frontlines, but other videos – especially those made with “deepfake” technology – should be seen as far more ominous. It was also nearly a year ago that deepfake videos of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky “surrendering” also circulated online.
That video’s authenticity was quickly addressed. Yet, it is clear that the truth will continue to be the “first casualty,” even if in some cases – like the TIE Fighter – it can result in some humorous moments.
BREAKING: Russian media releases footage of destroyed TIE Fighter in Ukraine pic.twitter.com/KiBqkHA1KJ
— Sputnik Not (@Sputnik_Not) March 2, 2023
Author Experience and Expertise:
A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.