Photos of Decoy Mannequins With Weapons in Kharkiv As Russia Retreats

  • Mannequins dressed as soldiers have been pictured in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
  • A Ukrainian advance appears to have triggered a Russian retreat from the city in recent days.
  • Decoy soldiers waste the opposing side’s effort and ammunition, experts say.

Decoy mannequins dressed as soldiers have been seen in Kharkiv, days after Ukraine appeared to have pushed Russian forces out of the city.

The mannequins, armed with fake weapons, were pictured in positions near a road in the north of the city on Friday.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion, reports have emerged of Ukrainian forces using decoy soldiers to confuse attacking Russian forces.

A mannequin dressed as a soldier is placed near a road in north Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, May 13, 2022.

A mannequin dressed as a soldier is placed near a road in north Kharkiv, Ukraine, Friday, May 13, 2022.

Bernat Armangue / AP


Along with the mannequins seen in Kharkiv, scarecrow-style decoy soldiers were also previously seen in other parts of the country.

Justin Crump, a military strategist, previously told The Times of London that decoy troops were “mostly effective against helicopters and aircraft.”

“Targeting fakes wastes effort and ammunition, which is how Serbia made effective use of decoys in 1999. It can also fool reconnaissance efforts.”

Russian forces have also used decoys to try and trick Ukraine during the war.

Photos taken in a recaptured Ukrainian town showed that retreating Russian forces dressed an ordinary car to look like an armored vehicle carrying a surface to air missile system, per The Times.

It is unclear who set up the dummies in Kharkiv and for what purpose.

Ukrainian forces appeared to have “won the battle of Kharkiv”, the Study of War, a US defense think tank said Saturday, The Guardian reported.

Despite being under heavy bombardment since the beginning of the war, Ukrainian forces have routed Russian troops from around the city, the institute said.

Ukrainian forces have continued counterattacks on Russian positions outside Kharkiv, reports say.

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