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‘What air defense doing”: Adam Kinzinger joins meme mockery of Russia

Republican Representative Adam Kinzinger has tweeted a meme mocking Moscow’s military capabilities in its invasion of Ukraine.

In the spotlight for his targeting of former Donald Trump as one of only two GOP representatives on the January 6 committee investigating the U.S. Capitol riot, the Illinois lawmaker also found time to take aim at the Kremlin’s war effort.

On Thursday, he retweeted a message that outlined a series of reported incidents near military bases deep within Russian-held areas of Ukraine and inside Russia itself.

These included reported explosions at a munitions depot, in Timonovo, Belgorod, located inside Russia, close to the border with Ukraine. Another incident listed were fire and explosions at Stary Oskol Airfield in the same city.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL)
Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger is pictured in the January 6 House Select Committee meeting on June 23, 2022, in Washington, D.C. Kinzinger has shared a tweet that draws on a meme used to mock the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

“Explosions/UAV shot down near Belbek airport, Crimea” and “air defense activity near Kerch strait, Crimea,” were the other situations mentioned by the Kyiv based independent foreign policy Twitter user @JimmySecUK shared with his 43,000 followers.

In his quote retweet of the message, Kinzinger wrote: “What Air Defense Doing” which has become a popular social media catchphrase gaining traction online.

The meme he shared is the creation of an online group called the North Atlantic Fellas Organization [NAFO] which has been countering Russian propaganda while raising money for Ukraine and whose hashtag has been attached to the messages.

Journalists and security experts are among those who have used the phrase as they have tweeted incidents in which Ukrainian forces have struck Russian targets.

NAFO encourages its members to try and get well-known accounts pushing Russian propaganda to block them, then screenshot the block screen which is shared on NAFO channels. Either the poster or another NAFO member donates to a pro-Ukraine cause.

The tweets mocking Moscow with the catchphrase often show images of strikes on Russian targets, or humorous gifs superimposed with cartoon dogs, known as doges.

The incidents that Kinzinger referred to have demonstrated Ukraine’s ability to strike at Moscow’s logistics far from front lines. They spurred Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov to say that striking facilities in Russian-occupied Crimea mark “an escalation of the conflict openly encouraged by the United States and its NATO allies.”

The messaging from Kyiv over the attacks has been ambiguous. Ukraine has not commented officially on explosions of Russian facilities but has hinted that its forces were Ukraine were responsible using long-range weapons.

Ukraine and the United States have both touted the effectiveness of U.S.-supplied weapons, such as High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)which have struck Russian ammunition depots and control and command centers.

Newsweek reached out to Representative Kinzinger’s office for comment.

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