NewsDeepfake video sparks concern amid rising Ukraine-Russia tensions

Deepfake video sparks concern amid rising Ukraine-Russia tensions

Deepfake in Russian media. USA in the main role/ illustrative photo
Deepfake in Russian media. USA in the main role/ illustrative photo
Images source: © Pexels

3:18 AM EDT, June 2, 2024

On Friday, a 49-second video showed State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller commenting on U.S. support for Ukraine. The deepfake was posted online a day after President Joe Biden authorized Ukraine to use American weapons to conduct attacks within Russia, near Kharkiv, writes "The New York Times."

The video, which is a so-called deepfake, was edited from clips of actual recordings. In it, Matthew Miller suggests that the Russian city of Belgorod, about 25 miles from the border with Ukraine, was a legitimate target for Ukrainian attacks.

Journalists from "The New York Times" noted that despite clear signs of manipulation, the video appears authentic. This highlights the growing threat of disinformation, especially fake videos based on artificial intelligence.

American officials do not have information on who created the video. However, they expressed concern that Russia might use such techniques to manipulate public opinion about the war in Ukraine and even influence American political discourse.

In the fake recording, the State Department spokesperson says Belgorod "has essentially no civilians remaining." This is in response to a reporter's fabricated question. "It's practically full of military targets at this point, and we are seeing the same thing starting in the regions around there," Miller says in the recording. He also adds, "Russia needs to get the message that this is unacceptable."

The article's authors emphasize that the claim in the video about Belgorod is entirely false.

The city had been a target of previous Ukrainian attacks, but about 340,000 residents have not yet been evacuated. False claims that civilians had fled and that the city is mainly a military zone could suggest a readiness in the West to support mass attacks there, which is not valid.

The video was posted in Russian media and on websites but without information that it was a deepfake.

Regular explosions occur in Belgorod

"The New York Times" reports that anti-aircraft sirens are regularly heard in Belgorod, explosions occur, buildings are destroyed, and civilians die.

In a series of explosions that took place on December 30, 2023, for which Moscow blamed Ukraine, 25 people died, and at least 100 were injured. The attack occurred a day after Russian airstrikes on cities across Ukraine, in which 57 people died and 160 were injured.

Residents of some regions near the border were evacuated, and Ukrainian drones and artillery regularly targeted many smaller towns and villages within range of the border.

According to "The New York Times," at the end of April, the governor of Belgorod Oblast, Vyacheslav Gladkov, reported that at least 120 civilians, including 11 children, had been killed as a result of Ukrainian attacks. He also said that since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, another 651 people had been injured.

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