Censor.NET reports referring to Euvsdisinfo, a website seeking to refute the Kremlin propaganda messages.
"The story about NATO's reinforcement in Europe has an element of truth mixed up with false information, all to fit into the often repeated pro-Kremlin narrative that NATO is the aggressor encircling Russia," the report says.
The fake was first released by a small website in Donetsk claiming that NATO is preparing for a war with Russia by deploying 3,600 tanks in Europe. This disinformation was then spread to a number of the usual suspects (Global Research, David Icke, RIA Novosti, etc.), but even more worryingly these false numbers also made their way into mainstream media such as the Independent and Swedish Radio (the latter has corrected its mistake in the meantime).
In a mapping made by the Atlantic DFRLab, you can see in detail how the story spread in several different languages through a wide network of conspiracy sites, blogs, seemingly marginal websites, established official Russian news channels - and then even to some solid Western media over the course of a few days.
"It shows us that pro-Kremlin disinformation has multiple channels and uses an orchestrated network of seemingly independent sources confirming each other," Euvsdisinfo explains.
As reported, the U.S troops have indeed arrived in Europe as part of a NATO reinforcement with the aim to boost inter-operability and combat readiness, so as to be able to quickly respond to renewed threats.
"But in fact, the reinforcement includes 87 tanks. It is a long way from 3,600, or 2,800, or simply "thousands", which are the numbers that have been figuring in the various media disinforming about this story," the article notes. "To compare, the total U.S. tank force is 8,848. If the "DPR's" story had been true, it would have meant that 40 percent of the U.S.'s main battle tanks had come to Europe at once."
Earlier, American tanks, self-propelled howitzers and hundreds of military vehicles for various purposes were taken to Germany on board U.S. military transport ships.
Infographics by Euvsdisinfo