Putin declares martial law in apparent deepfake address

A state-of-emergency address by the Russian President Vladimir Putin was broadcast in Russia as a result of a hack, the Kremlin said.

The message was played on several radio stations in Rostov, Belgorod, and Voronezh, three regions bordering Ukraine.

In it, the voice resembling Putin’s said that Ukrainian forces had “invaded” the Russian territories of Kursk, Belgorod, and Bryansk.

In response, martial law was declared in those areas, and residents were advised to evacuate “deep into the Russian territory,” the message said.

The announcement promised mass mobilization “to defeat the dangerous and insidious enemy.”

A video of Putin’s likeness reading the same message was reportedly also broadcast on Russian television and shared on social media.

The Russian state-owned news agency TASS cited the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov as saying the emergency address was fake and a result of a hack.

“There was definitely no [address]. Indeed, in some regions, there was a hack,” Peskov said, adding that the situation was now “under control.”

Belgorod authorities said on their Telegram channel that the purpose of the “fake” message was to “sow panic.” Officials in Voronezh also sought to reassure the residents, stating that “there are no reasons for concern.”

The purportedly deepfake video was broadcast amidst signs that Ukraine is moving forward with its long-anticipated counteroffensive plans.

On Sunday (June 4th), pro-Ukrainian messages reportedly also interrupted regular programming on television channels in Russian-occupied Crimea.

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