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Ukrainian TV channel says Russian hackers aired fake Zelenskyy statement


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A Ukraine TV channel on Wednesday claimed Russian hackers aired a fake statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

The false statement from Zelenskyy broadcast on Ukraine 24 TV by Russian hackers purportedly mentioned a “surrender,” according to a translation of a Telegram post from the TV channel.

“[W]e have repeatedly warned about this,” the TV channel said. “This is a fake! Nobody is going to give up.”

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Facebook Tuesday, March 15, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

In this image from video provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office and posted on Facebook Tuesday, March 15, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP)

The Ukrainian Center for Strategic Communications and Information Security issued a similar warning on Wednesday after the channel was apparently hacked.

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“Russian hackers broke the news feed on Ukraine 24 TV and launched a false ‘statement’ by President Vladimir Zelensky about the need to lay down weapons,” the communications center said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Zelenskyy responded to the false statement in a video posted to the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine’s Twitter page.

“We are at home and defending Ukraine,” a translation of the president’s response from the Ministry of Defense reads. “We are not going to lay down any weapons. To our victory.”

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Zelenskyy has repeatedly called on global powers like the United States for more defense tools to aid its efforts to stop Russian forces from invading Ukraine. On Wednesday, the Ukrainian president pleaded with Congress to “do more” by implementing a no-fly zone, providing additional aircraft and air defense systems, and creating a new security alliance.

Ukraine’s communications center previously warned about Russian deepfakes, or videos that are edited to the extent that they can make people appear to say things they never actually said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a virtual address to Congress by video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a virtual address to Congress by video at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, March 16, 2022. 
(Drew Angerer, Pool via AP)

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“Imagine seeing [Volodymyr Zelenskyy] on TV making a surrender statement. You see it, you hear it — so it’s true. But this is not the truth. This is deepfake technology,” the government agency said in a translated March 2 Facebook post. “This will not be a real video, but created through machine learning algorithms. Videos made through such technologies are almost impossible to distinguish from the real ones.”

The communications center added that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “goal is to disorient, sow panic, disbelieve citizens and incite our troops to retreat.”

Fox News’ Brooke Singman contributed to this report.

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