Florida Republican Says ‘Happy Birthday U.S. Navy’ With Tweet Of Russian Warship, Later Deletes Twitter Post

House Republican Brian Mast mistook a Russian ship for a U.S. Navy vessel.

Russian warship cruises.
Leon Neal / Getty Images

House Republican Brian Mast mistook a Russian ship for a U.S. Navy vessel.

A second-term Republican Congressman from Southeast Florida, who was also a wounded Afghanistan combat veteran, made an awkward mistake on his Twitter account on Sunday morning. Rep. Brian Mast posted a tweet wishing the U.S. Navy a “Happy Birthday,” celebrating the 244th anniversary of the military branch’s founding, as CNN reported.

But in the tweet, he posted a photograph of the Russian battlecruiser Pyotr Velikiy. The Russian ship was originally named the Yuri Andropov when it was constructed in 1986, according to Military Factory. The ship was named after the former leader of the Soviet Union, who was also previously the chief of the KGB.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, the guided-missile cruiser was rechristened with its current name, and launched in 1996. The Pyotr Velikiy today serves as the flagship of Russia‘s North Fleet, according to Military Factory.

The mistake was particularly awkward for the 39-year-old Mast. Earlier this week, it was revealed that he received a donation of $2,173 from Igor Fruman, who is one of two Soviet-born, Florida businessmen who have acted as “fixers” for Donald Trump‘s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Fruman and Lev Parnas, who appears to be a longtime acquaintance of Trump, as well as a Giuliani associate, as The Inquisitr reported, were arrested and indicted this week, charged with campaign finance violations.

According to a report by WPEC TV in Boca Raton, Florida, Mast received the donation from Fruman — who for purposes of supposedly concealing his identity used the name “Furman” for the donation — on June 12, 2018, as he was running for re-election. The donation was funneled through a group known as “Protect the House,” and according to the WPEC report, Mast never met Fruman personally.

Mast has now said that he will return the donation, according to the report.

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Fruman, using the alternate spelling of his name, donated to several high-profile Republican candidates last year. According to federal prosecutors, Parnas and Fruman made a $325,000 donation to the pro-Trump Republican SuperPac, concealing the true source of the funds — an unnamed Russian businessman, as The Inquisitr reported.

Parnas and Fruman worked for Giuliani in his effort to force the government of Ukraine to open an “investigation” into Democrat Joe Biden, Trump’s potential opponent in the 2020 election.

Fruman and Parnas were also financed in their activities by fugitive Ukrainian oligarch Dmytro Firtash, who is under indictment in Chicago, Illinois, for an alleged mining fraud scheme, as The Inquisitr reported. Firtash has been living in Vienna, Austria, for the past five years, fighting extradition to the United States. His backing of Fruman and Parnas may be connected to his attempt to get the indictment against him lifted.