STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.
Did U.S. Air Force F-35s carry out an air raid in the Black Sea destroying Russian forces in June 2022? No, that's not true: The United States, while offering billions of dollars in military aid, equipment and training to Ukrainian forces since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, has not been involved in any direct military operations against Russian forces. F35s are only working in defensive operations, and "U.S. F-35s are NOT destroying Russian intercontinental missiles at sea," U.S. Air Force Capt. M. Ryan Goss emailed Lead Stories on June 29, 2022.
The claim appeared in a video (archived here) published on YouTube on June 16, 2022, under a title that begins with the number 9 and the Japanese characters 時間前 that according to Google Translate mean "by the time." The whole title is "9時間前utin Shocked-USAF F 35s suddenly carried out air raid in the Black Sea destroying Russian Forces."
This is what the post looked like at the time of writing:
(Source: YouTube screenshot taken on Thurs Jun 23 18:46:41 2022 UTC)
Click below to watch the video on YouTube:
The first aircraft that appears in the video is not a USAF F-35, but an F-22 Raptor, manufactured by Lockheed Martin.
There is nothing in the eight-minute, nine-second video or its accompanying narration to substantiate the claim of a U.S. "air raid in the Black Sea destroying Russian forces." Such an air raid is not even mentioned in the narration. The video consists of what appears to be file footage of various military aircraft in flight and in landings and takeoffs.
In the email to Lead Stories, Goss, with the
U.S. F-35s are NOT destroying Russian intercontinental missiles at sea. U.S. F-35s operating in the Baltic and Black Sea regions are operating in a purely defensive nature in support of NATO's Enhanced Air Policing mission. The F-35 provides advanced fifth generation capabilities, which provides options for NATO and U.S. senior leaders to respond to adversary threats. The continued presence of F-35s in the European theatre are designed to enhance coalition interoperability and airspace awareness.
Former NATO Supreme Allied Commander James Stavridis offered analysis, published in The Washington Post on May 6, 2022, that the Black Sea could be the next front in the war since Russian forces are blockading the Ukrainian coast. Grain exports critical to the world's food supply are being impeded. Stavridis said he believes that the United Nations, NATO and the United States and its allies will take responsibility for escorting Ukrainian tankers.
Other Lead Stories fact checks related to the 2022 Russia-Ukraine conflict can be found here.
2022-06-30T17:40:16Z 2022-06-30T17:40:16ZAdds quote from U.S. Air Force captain.