Zelensky Surrendering to Russia? Hackers Plant Deepfake Video of Ukrainian President on Live TV

A deepfake video of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is being widely circulated on Russian social media showing that the Kyiv leader is surrendering to Kremlin. The clip was planted by hackers on live TV in Ukraine and on a news site too before it was taken down.

In the edited clip, Zelenskyy is seen speaking from his lectern, calling on his troops to lay down their weapons and give in to Russian forces.

Hackers targeted the Ukraine 24 channel and their effort has escalated fears that Russia could use them in circulating misinformation.

Screen grab of deepfake video of Zelenskyy
Screen grab of deepfake video of Zelenskyy Twitter

Discrepancies in Zelensky's Video

But in the video, users found discrepancies between the skin tone on Zelenskiy's neck and face and the pixelation around his head. They could easily figure out that the accent in the video was not of Zelensky, according to Daily Mail.

The effort aimed to spread misinformation and create panic among citizens and it has popped up a new front of information war.

The edited video was a result of face swap, which is processed under programs that can digitally graft one person's face onto another's body.

Ukraine Had Warned of Deepfakes

The incident came as two weeks back Ukrainian authorities had released a video to alert the country with the danger of the deepfakes.

The authorities had speculated possibilities that Kremlin could plan such moves to spread misinformation and gain benefits from these activities.

What Did Zelensky Say About Video?

Responding to the fake video, Zelensky told the supporters, "If I can offer someone to lay down their arms, it's the Russian military.Go home. Because we're home. We are defending our land, our children and our families."

Russia's Disinformation War

The effort is believed to be part of Russia's disinformation war in the Ukraine invasion as experts have said that Moscow is concealing its casualties to the domestic audience and representing that Kyiv started this war.

The edited video was not the result of a proper deepfaketechnology as it was poorly processed and differences are clearly visible but the effort has raised alarms that Russia could make similar attempts in the near future.

"If I can offer someone to lay down their arms, it's the Russian military.Go home.Because we're home. We are defending our land, our children & our families."

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