Recently surfaced photos of American warplanes disguised in Russian camouflage have set the internet on fire, sparking conspiracy theories about a possible false flag operation.
The photographs, taken by a Canadian journalist last week, purport to show F/A-18 fighter jets painted with blue patterns similar to those employed by the Russian military, the RT reported Tuesday.
Although the journalist noted on his Twitter account that the airplanes represented potential adversaries as a common training tactic, skeptics put their own spin on the story.
“The United States has been caught repainting several of their fighter jets in RUSSIAN Air Force Colors. Training? Or are they preparing to launch a horrific bombing inside Syria, then blaming it on the Russians as a precursor to US military action inside Syria?” said one Facebook user.
“So did you guys read that article of the US Army painting bomber jets the colors of Russian jets? Prepare for another false flag coming…” wrote Twitter user Rob Lu-Wong.
Tom, another Twitter user, went as far as writing a scenario where “FA-18/A jets in Russian colors sink US Navy ship.” He finishes by asking a question: “USS Liberty style new PearlHarbour?”
Using aggressor squadrons, which employ similar tactics to the enemy for more realistic scenarios during training, is a common practice by the US and other militaries around the world.
However, the images come at a time when Washington and Moscow have reached a dead-end in their negotiations over Syria, giving the perfect ground for conspiracy theorists to weigh in with their extreme scenarios of a looming conflict.
Although some American officials have escalated their anti-Russia rhetoric with regards to the country’s air campaign against foreign-backed Takfiri militants fighting the government in Syria, the White House has categorically rejected the notion of a direct confrontation with Russia.
This is while over the past several months, Russian and American warplanes have become dangerously close mid-air on many occasions, prompting concerns about unwanted consequences.