Putin declares peace with Ukraine in debunked deepfake video

Putin declares peace with Ukraine in debunked deepfake video
Zelensky responds to Russian deepfake video claiming Ukrainians are surrendering
Facebook/Volodymyr Zelensky

A video appearing to show Russian president Vladimir Putin declaring peace with Ukraine has been declared as a deep fake.

In reality, the clip is from Putin's address on February 21st just days before Russian forces invaded Ukraine and the original audio from this has been replaced with a new one, Reuters reported who in a reverse search of keyframe from the doctored video found the original clip on the president's official website.

"We've managed to reach peace with Ukraine” Putin appears to say and then declares the restoration of independence of Crimea as a republic inside Ukraine - all of which is not true.

The person who tweeted the deepfake, also wrote alongside the clip: “The President of the Russian Federation announced the surrender of Russia. Russian soldier, drop your weapons and go home while you're alive!”

But afterwards, in a follow-up tweet he says that the video is in fact fake.

President Putin has not declared peace with Ukraine (as of March 18), and a Russian speaker confirmed to Reuters the audio is not in sync with Putin's lip movements nor does the voice sound like the Russian leader.

Twitter has added a warning to the doctored video declaring it as "manipulated media."

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Fact-checkers were able to tell the two clips matched as both included a slight hand gesture Putin made, his hands on the desk and a slight tilt to his head from the original video (00:10) were in the edited one (00:08) at around the same timestamp.

Wide-angle shots also appeared in the edited video, with Reuters noting they didn't correspond with the original video where they are seen later on in the video.

This is not the first deepfake to make rounds on the internet since the Russian invasion into Ukraine began - with an edited clip of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky surrendering to Russian forces on March 16.

This has since been debunked by Zelensky himself who said in a video posted to his various social media channels: "Good day. As for the latest childish provocation with advice to lay down arms, I only advise that the troops of the Russian Federation lay down their arms and return home.

"We are already home, we are defending our land, our children, our families. So, we are not going to lay down any arms until our victory," he added.

“It was easily debunked because of three factors - firstly the deepfake itself is of poor quality, secondly the Ukrainian authorities had done extensive prebunking warning of this scenario and thirdly they had the power of instant rebuttal across social media channels from Zelenskyy himself,” Sam Gregory, AI and disinformation expert and Program Director of international non-profit organization WITNESS told Reuters.

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