The U.S. Navy is facing backlash after posting an Independence Day photo on Twitter that appeared to accidentally include silhouettes of a Russian naval ship and Russian fighter jets.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s post, which is no longer available on Twitter, included a photo with silhouettes of five Sukhoi-27s, a Kashin-class destroyer and a soldier saluting with the American flag in the background.
The photo included a “Happy 4th Of July” caption and the Navy wrote “Happy Independence Day!” above the photo in its Twitter post.
Blake Herzinger, a research fellow at the United States Studies Center, tweeted a screenshot of the post, commenting, “US Pacific Fleet Don’t Post Russian Ships and Aircraft on Independence Day Challenge 2023: Failed.”
According to Insider, Herzinger gave credit to Gerry Doyle, a Reuters editor, for determining the identity of the fighter jets and Venugopal Vengali, a retired Indian Navy commodore, for identifying the Russian destroyer ship.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet’s post quickly prompted backlash from Twitter users, with over 300 retweets and roughly 100 comments by Tuesday evening, according to Stars and Stripes.
Following the mistaken post, the U.S. Pacific Fleet deleted its Fourth of July tweet, replacing it with a new photo of a U.S. aircraft carrier and the words “Land of the Free, Home of the Brave.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet also wrote, “Happy Independence Day! Celebrating life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for 247 years, and those who stand to protect.”
Despite deleting the original post with Russian ships and replacing it with a U.S. aircraft carrier, some Twitter users continued to blast the U.S. Navy for its mistake, posting GIFs of dancing Russian soldiers and Russian President Vladimir Putin laughing.
One user tweeted, “This is an embarrassment to our country and our nation,” according to Insider.
While many Twitter users continued to criticize the U.S. Navy for its mistake, other users defended the Pacific Fleet’s mistake.
One Twitter user commented, “I make mistakes too, they fixed the issue and gave us a much cooler pic! Happy 4th!”