Ukrainian air force commander says Russian military duped by realistic models

(Reuters) - Ukraine's air force commander said on Saturday his forces had duped Russian troops into deploying missiles against sophisticated models put in place to look like military targets.

Commander Mykola Oleshchuk, writing on the Telegram messaging app, said the models depicted fighter aircraft and a surface-to-air missile battery. They were put in place at an airfield near the central city of Kriviy Rih and a district of the Black Sea port of Odesa.

A video attached to the post, described as footage from a Russian reconnaissance drone, showed what Oleshchuk said were Russian Iskander missiles attacking the depictions.

"Air force personnel conducted passive defence measures!" Oleshchuk wrote.

"Thank you to everyone who helped with the top-quality mock-ups of aircraft and SAM systems. The enemy now has fewer Iskander missiles and more mock-ups will be delivered."

Oleshchuk said he had gone public with the deception "as an exception, to show the public that not everything is straightforward."

(Reporting by Ron Popeski and Oleksander Kozhukhar; Editing by Leslie Adler)