A dubious claim suggesting that Russian President Vladimir Putin has asked the Russian troops to surrender and return to their country has surfaced on social media. The fake claim suggest that Putin made the announcement in a televised speech.
As the war entered its third week, hundreds were feared dead after Russian air force bombed a theatre and a swimming pool in Ukraine's port city of Mariupol where over 1,200 civilians, including pregnant women and children, were sheltering.
What is Being Claimed in the Viral Clip?
In the clip shared on Twitter by Serhii Sternenko @sternenko, Putin is seen giving a televised speech. The tweet's English translation reads, "The President of the Russian Federation announced the surrender of Russia. Russian soldier, drop your weapons and go home while you're alive!" The clip has been viewed over 70,000 times since it was uploaded on March 16.
Debunking the claim, Lead Stories reported that that the video was altered using Putin's previous video making it appear as if Putin is saying the manipulated words.
In a communique to the outlet, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said that there are no signs of Russia ending the war. "The facts on the ground do not corroborate this. Today we are digesting additional reports of abhorrent behavior by Russia's forces in Mariupol, including that they forced hundreds of civilians into an intensive care hospital and threatened to shoot them, along with patients and staff, while continuing to fire on Ukrainian soldier," said the spokesperson.
Putin Talks About 'Self Purification'
Warning the 'traitors' of the country, the Russian president in his speech on Wednesday said that Russia should undergo a "self-cleansing of society" to get rid of the "bastards and traitors" The comments comes as several Russians are reportedly fleeing the country as the war intensifies.
"The collective West is attempting to splinter our society, speculating on military losses, on socioeconomic effects of sanctions, in order to provoke a people's rebellion in Russia," Putin said.
"But any people, the Russian people, especially, are able to distinguish true patriots from bastards and traitors and will spit them out. I am certain that this necessary and natural self-cleansing of society will only strengthen our country, our solidarity, togetherness, and our readiness to answer any calls to action," he went on to add.