Hackers stage deepfake of Putin declaring martial law

The Kremlin has confirmed the incident to local media.

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Hackers generated a deep fake of Russian President Vladimir Putin declaring martial law in response to an alleged crossing of Ukrainian troops into Russian territory and broadcasted the generated video in an emergency television appeal. Several radio and television stations in border regions broadcasted the fabricated message, presenting a realistic-looking Putin urging citizens to evacuate their homes and prepare for an all-out war with Ukraine.

The falsified broadcast claimed that Ukrainian forces, with support from Washington, entered the Kursk, Belgorod, and Bryansk regions in the early morning. It announced a mass call-up of eligible men to counter the perceived threat posed by the alleged enemy. However, Putin’s press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, stated that the speech never occurred and security services are investigating the incident. Television operators in Crimea, under Russian occupation since 2014, confirmed that their systems had been compromised.

This cyberattack highlights the growing risk of fake posts disseminated through advanced technologies such as AI. Ukraine’s Deputy Defence Minister, Hanna Maliar, announced that Ukrainian troops are shifting towards offensive actions along specific parts of the front line, while General Oleksandr Syrskyi, the commander of Kyiv’s ground forces, confirmed their progress towards the contested city of Bakhmut. The situation continues to escalate as tensions rise and the prospect of a significant military confrontation looms.