But the Russian decoys unintentionally deflated, according to Ukrainian officials.
Russia has employed deceptive warfare for decades, but its recent efforts apparently fizzled.
Ukrainian military forces accused the Russian army of deploying inflatable tanks in the south of Ukraine in an effort to deceive the opposing side, saying the country's "rubber" decoys had deflated in an anticlimactic display.
"At the time when our partners are coordinating the supply of tanks to Ukraine, the invading army is also increasing the presence of 'tank units' in the Zaporizhzhia area," the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine wrote.
But Russia's multiplying tanks are, according to Ukrainian officials, not what they seem.
"Apparently, the free air of the Cossack region is not suitable for the 'rubber' products of the occupiers, so they deflate without fulfilling their main mission. Just like the inflated bravado of the Russian army," the agency said.
Deception as warfare has a long history. The US also utilized inflatable tanks in World War II as part of its Ghost Army operation in an effort to trick the Third Reich into overestimating the Allied forces' military strength. The unit created illusions and sought to spread disinformation by using inflatable mock-ups of military vehicles, tanks, and artillery, as well as audio recordings of sounds that mimicked the movement of large armies.
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