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Here you see him, there you don't: Ukrainian rebel commander appears on Ferguson video

Published time: August 18, 2014 11:41
Edited time: August 21, 2014 15:14
An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user Сергей Филиппович

An image grab taken from a video uploaded on YouTube by user Сергей Филиппович

A video showing a prominent field commander of the East Ukrainian militia amid rioters in Missouri’s Ferguson neighborhood sparked wild online speculation in Russia that the man, called a secret Russian agent by Kiev, is now on a mission in the US.

Igor Strelkov went missing from Ukraine’s Donetsk region last week amid rumors that he was seriously injured in battle. His fellow rebels said that he resigned his position as defense minister of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

But an alternative version is supported by a video currently circulating on Russian social media. It shows Strelkov among the crowds of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, as the town is being ravaged by several days of riots triggered by the killing of teenager Michael Brown by a police officer.

The video appears to bear the logo of Ruptly, RT’s video agency.

The footage sparked speculation in Russia that Strelkov, who according to Kiev is a secret Russian agent sent by President Putin to instill violence in otherwise peaceful Ukraine, was dispatched by his handlers on a new crucial mission – to spark riots in the United States.

Unfortunately for conspiracy theorists and some US officials with a habit of taking whatever they find on the social media on face value, the video is a fake. The unknown authors took genuine Ruptly footage of the Ferguson riots and edited in Strelkov’s image, apparently taken from one of his media appearances.

RT has no exclusive information on the whereabouts of Strelkov, but no evidence exists that he is in Ferguson, or indeed anywhere in the United States.

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