These photos have circulated since 2016 in reports about an air defence system that was damaged after an accident in Russia

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Two photos have been shared repeatedly in multiple Facebook and Twitter posts alongside a claim they show a Russian-made air defence system that was destroyed in an October 2020 attack on Armenia. The claim is false; the photos have circulated online since 2016 in reports about an air defence system that was damaged after an accident in Russia.

The photos were shared here on Facebook on October 1, 2020.

Screenshot of misleading Facebook post

“#BREAKING AZERBAIJAN Picture shows DESTROYED Russian Made S-300 Air Defence Systems of Armenia. Turkey made Harop Drones proved very effective against Russian Air Defence Systems. #azerbaijan #AzerbaijanArmy #azerbaijanis #azerbaycan #azerbaijanarmenianconflict #AzerbaijanNotAlone #armenia #ArmenianOccupation,” reads the post's caption.

The caption refers to recent clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as AFP reported here.

Heavy shelling between the two countries persisted on October 1 despite fresh calls from world leaders for an end to days of fighting over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.

The photos were also shared here, here, here and here on Facebook, and here, here, here and here on Twitter alongside identical claims.

The claim, however, is false.

A reverse image search found the photos were published here on a Greek-language website on December 5, 2016.

The headline translates to English as: “S300, oops that fell as well.”

Below is a screenshot comparison of the photos shared in the misleading post (L) and the photos published on the Greek site (R):

Image comparing screenshot

According to the report, the photos show a Russian-made S-300 Air Defence System that was damaged in an accident.

The report also includes a high-quality video of the accident that was posted here on YouTube on December 4, 2016.

The video’s Russian-language title translates to English as: “The pride of PVO RF (Russian Federation Air Force) the S-300 system. The Ashuluk polygon (airfield) August 2016.”

A keyword search on Google found the accident was reported here by science and technology website Popular Mechanics on December 6, 2016.

According to the report, the incident happened at a missile base in southwestern Russia.

A further keyword search on Google found the photos and the video were also published here in a report by a Turkish-language website on December 4, 2016.

The headline reads: “The crash of the Russian S-300 missile”.