The Kremlin says reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin showed filmmaker Oliver Stone footage of a U.S. helicopter shooting Islamic extremists in Afghanistan and told him it was the Russian Air Force in Syria are "nonsense."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Meduza news site on June 20 that "this is not true. Nonsense."
Peskov was responding to an excerpt from Stone's new documentary, The Putin Interviews, in which Putin is seen showing Stone a video on a mobile phone, telling the filmmaker: "That's how our air forces are operating. These militants are running with arms; not just machine guns, but they have some serious weaponry at their disposal, which they used to destroy army vehicles."
Stone watches the video and nods as Putin speaks to him.
Putin then translates the audio for Stone, telling him, "The pilot said that he's going to make another [bombing] attempt." Stone responds: "They (the insurgents) don't have Stingers (antiaircraft missiles)?"
Putin tells Stone they are "international terrorists" and that the footage was of "an attempt at entering Syria from the Turkish side." (Watch the video with Russian audio)
Several viewers of the Stone documentary later said on social media that they thought the video, in which a helicopter is shooting at armed men on the ground, looked familiar.
Then the Conflict Intelligence Team (CIT), a Russian nonprofit organization, had some of its researchers check the video and found that it matched video taken in 2013 of a U.S. Apache helicopter shooting at insurgents in Afghanistan.
The two videos appear to be identical, the only difference being that the video that Putin showed to Stone has Russian-language audio.
CIT put the two videos side-by-side to show how exact they appear.
Stone has not commented on the issue.
With reporting by The Moscow Times and Meduza.io