Liz Truss calls for a 'tough new wave of sanctions' against Russia
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Journalist Alistair Coleman took to Twitter to destroy the claims, which he branded “fake news”. He reposted one tweet, which said: “Unconfirmed. The rumours going around that a US Major General Roger L. Cloutier has been captured by Russian army at Azovstal in Mariupol. It would be within the Russians’ right to execute this officer as nothing more than a common criminal. Not kidding. Legally by all laws.”
Mr Coleman retweeted another post, which claimed: “Unconfirmed sources from Russian military.
“The Russian army captured the US Major General Roger L. Cloutier Jr. Maj. Gen. Roger L. Cloutier, the US Arica Command HQ Chief of Staff in the besieged Ukrainian Azov camp in Mariupol.
“The Pentagon wanted to contact Putin.”
But BBC journalist Mr Coleman tore apart those claims in a series of tweets, claiming he had been told by the man himself that he is “alive, safe and well”.
He tweeted: “There are rumours doing the rounds that the chief of NATO’s Allied Land Command has been captured in Mariupol.
“This comes as news to Lt General Cloutier himself, who just told me he’s alive, safe and well.
“If you’re going to spread disinformation, at least get the details right. Roger Cloutier is a Lt General, not a Major General; and he’s no longer the Commander of US Army Africa – he’s been Commander Allied Land Command for two years.”
“NATO tells me: ‘Completely fake news. LTG Cloutier has NOT been captured and is currently with his command in Izmir’.
Mr Coleman added in further tweets: “Allied Land Command tell me that there are no NATO forces or leaders in Ukraine in any capacity.
“Claims of the Lt General’s arrest can be filed under fake news.
“And no, the Lt Gen is a busy man and he’s not going to send us a proof-of-life photo holding today’s edition of Hürriyet to show that he’s in Turkey.”
The BBC journalist even tweeted a picture of Lieutenant General Cloutier, which he said had been taken at a NATO conference on Tuesday.
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He wrote alongside this: “In fact, here is is, earlier today, at a NATO event in Turkey. Clearly neither dead nor in Russian captivity.
This sparked a reaction from veteran politician George Galloway, who replied in a tweet: “Who are you?”
Mr Coleman quickly hit back: “That’s the second time he’s posted ‘Who are you?’ despite blocking me.”
On Tuesday, Mr Galloway retweeted a post, which read: “I cannot confirm, as this is all happening to fast for me to track, but Veterans Today is reporting (unconfirmed) that a #US 3-star general has been captured by #Russia|n forces in #Mariupol, where he was leading Azov in battle.
He wrote alongside this: “If true, this could scarcely be a more dangerous development
But a separate tweet earlier this morning (Wednesday), Mr Galloway retweeted further claims over the capture of Lieutenant General Cloutier, and wrote: “Apparently untrue.”
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