Sound Off: Why Did Russia Doctor This Video?


It's unusual for to find itself in the middle of an international story involving Russian President Vladimir Putin and American filmmaker Oliver Stone.

But that's exactly what happened this week.

To recap: Stone spent two years interviewing Putin as part of a new four-part documentary, "The Putin Interviews," which began airing this week on Russian TV and in the U.S. on Showtime.

In one scene from the third episode, Putin holds a smartphone to show Stone a video of what he said were Russian forces attacking Islamic State militants in Syria.

"That's how our air forces are operating," Putin tells Stone, according to transcribed remarks.

Turns out, the video is a doctored version of a 2009 Defense Department video posted on and YouTube in 2012, according to news reports and analysts. The forces in the footage were actually Americans in an Apache AH-64 gunship firing at Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, they say.

In an email to, Ruslan Leviev, an analyst at the Moscow-based Conflict Intelligence Team, which monitors Russian military activity, shared the doctored version of the video -- along with another used to make the fake (see below). The fake uses audio from a conversation between two Ukrainian pilots flying a mission over the Donbas in Ukraine in May 2014, he said.

His organization also posted a YouTube clip of a side-by-side comparison of the videos.


Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Putin, insisted the attacking forces in the video were Russians in Syria, according to an article on the Russian news agency Interfax.

Stone also criticized the reports as "blogging bulls---" and asked, "Why would [Putin] fake it," noting that Russian forces have waged numerous airstrikes in Syria, according to a video posted on Ruptly, part of the Russian RT network.

Compare the full-length videos below for yourself and let us know why you think Russian officials would want to doctor such footage, then defend it as real. Was the move really designed to "punk" Stone, as some outlets have suggested -- or is there another reason altogether?

WARNING: The video is graphic and viewer discretion is advised.

1. Original Pentagon Video Posted on


2. Doctored Video That Putin Showed to Stone


3. Audio Used to Make the Fake


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