KEY POINTS

  • The Trump Make America Great Again Committee was responsible for the digital ad's release
  • The jet fighters and at least one of the firearms are all military equipment sourced back to Soviet-era Russia
  • Trump's ad follows nearly a week of criticism after The Atlantic reported the president called dead U.S. soldiers "suckers" and "losers"

A digital ad released by the Trump campaign to promote supporting the military came under fire after experts pointed out the jets and some of the weapons featured were Russian in origin.

The ad followed nearly a week of criticism against President Donald Trump for reports that he called soldiers who died in combat “losers” and “suckers.”

The Trump Make America Great Again Committee released the ad on Sept. 8 and it ran online through Saturday. It features multiple armed and silhouetted soldiers and three fighter jets conducting a fly-by overhead with the tagline “Support Our Troops.”

“That’s definitely a MiG-29,” Pierre Sprey told Politico. Sprey is a defense contractor who helped the U.S. military design multiple fighter jets still in use today, such as the F-16 Fighting Falcon.

“I’m glad to see it’s supporting our troops.”

The MiG-29 is, arguably, the most readily identified jet fighter associated with the Russian military. It’s been in service since 1982 and is still in production for use by 30 different countries, many of which have ties back to the Soviet Union.

The U.S. bought 21 MiG-29 jets in 1997 from Moldova to “keep them out of the hands of potential enemies.”

Sprey’s suspicions were confirmed by Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Director Ruslan Pukhov. Pukhov also told Politico the jets were MiG-29s and then pointed out one of the soldiers was carrying an AK-74 assault rifle. The rifle is a descendant of the AK-47 assault rifle and remains in use today by the Russian military and other former Soviet states.

The image was traced back to Shutterstock, where it’s available to download.

It’s hardly the first time Trump’s campaign has taken foreign images and used them for political messages, either. An ad from July promoted the “law and order” message Trump was pushing for most of the summer in response to Black Lives Matter and Defund the Police protests with an image of protesters attacking a police officer. However, analysts immediately pointed out the image was from the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution which ousted then-President Viktor Yanukovych, who is currently living in exile in Russia.

President Donald Trump has vowed to hit back at Iran if the Islamic republic strikes at the United States President Donald Trump's campaign committee has been criticized for using Russian images in "Support Our Troops" ad. Photo: AFP / Brendan Smialowski