A video circulated the internet Thursday of Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy asking the Ukrainian people to surrender to Russia. It even went so far as to be aired on news station Ukraine 24 and picked up heavily by social media.
Ukraine officials have warned that Russia may use media as a tactic to sabotage the war. VERIFY confirmed the video is fake, called ‘a deepfake’, having used images from a press conference Zelenskyy held.
A ‘deepfake’ is “made using artificial intelligence technologies, like programs that can be used to replace or synthesize faces, speech or expressions of emotions” writes Verify.com. “The video is fake. Using video forensics tools and reverse image searching, VERIFY can confirm that this video was computer-generated using still images from Zelenskyy’s earlier press conferences.”
In response to the fake video surfacing, Zelenskyy posted his own video directly to his personal social networks and said:
“As for the latest children’s provocation, which I offered to lay down my arms, I can offer to lay down arms and return home only to the Russian military. And we are already at home, we are protecting our children, our families. We are not going to lay down any weapons before our victory.”
VERIFY.com details how the video was faked:
Zelenskyy’s face was superimposed onto the body in the deepfake. The face we see talking was generated from this still image taken of Zelenskyy at a press conference on March 3. The mouth on the photo was manipulated to appear as if Zelenskyy was actually talking.
The background of the video also remains completely static, and lines up precisely to this photo, which shows Zelenskyy at a press conference held on Feb. 24. Using TinEye reverse image search tool, VERIFY was able to compare existing photos to the deepfake.
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