Hacked Ukraine TV channel broadcasts FAKE Zelenskyy surrender message to Ukrainians

Volodymyr Zelenskyy posted a video of himself after Russia hacked a Ukrainian TV channel and broadcast a phony statement purporting to be from the president, urging Ukrainians to surrender.


                            Hacked Ukraine TV channel broadcasts FAKE Zelenskyy surrender message to Ukrainians
Volodymyr Zelenskyy (L) posted a video of himself after Russia hacked a Ukrainian TV to broadcasts a fake surrender message (R) (Photo by zelenskiy_official/Instagram & @www.ukraine24.ua/Facebook)

Russia hacked a Ukrainian TV channel and broadcast a phony statement purporting to be from the country's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy urging Ukrainians to surrender. During the cyber assault on Ukraine 24 news station, a phony banner appeared on the broadcast claiming to be from the Ukrainian president, in which he declared he was 'capitulating' and encouraged residents to 'give up arms.' However, immediately after the incident, Zelenskyy posted a video that refuted the claims. He went on to explain that he had not made such a comment and that ‘the only ones who should give up arms are Russian soldiers’.

He stated, "I can only ask the Russian military to give up arms and return home. We are home already, we are defending our land, our children. We are not going to give up any arms until our victory." Prior to the release of Zelenskyy's video, Ukrainians took to social media to alert others about the misleading remark. One Twitter user wrote, “WARNING! Ukraine 24 TV channel has been hacked! Now they are broadcasting a text tape with a fake address by Volodymyr Zelenskyy. We emphasize that no one is going to capitulate.” 

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Ukraine 24 also issued a Facebook warning that its broadcast and website had been hacked. The statement reads, “The running line of the ‘Ukraine 24’ TV channel and the ‘Today’ website were hacked by enemy hackers and broadcast Zelenskyy's message about alleged ‘capitulation’ ❗️❗️❗️ THIS IS FAKE! FAKE! Friends, we have repeatedly warned about this. No one is going to give up. Especially, in the circumstances when the Russian army suffers losses in battles with the Ukrainian army!” 



 

 

A transcription from the deep fake video is viewable on an archived version of the Ukraine 24 website. It says, “Dear Ukrainians! Dear defenders! Being president was not so easy. I have to make difficult decisions. At first I decided to return Donbas. It's time to look in the eye. It didn't work out. It only got worse. Much worse. There is no more tomorrow. At least in me. And now I decide to say goodbye to you. I advise you to lay down your arms and return to your families. You should not die in this war. I advise you to live, and I'm going to do the same.” 



 

 



 

 

Earlier, on March 2, the official Facebook account for Ukraine's land forces issued a warning regarding deepfake videos. It said, “Imagine seeing Vladimir 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. This will not be a real video but created through machine learning algorithms. Videos made through such technologies are almost impossible to distinguish from real ones.” 



 

 



 

 

Since early March, Ukraine's Defense Intelligence has also been warning about deepfake misinformation, stating that Russia may try to exploit AI-generated fake footage to its advantage. They issued a statement on Twitter saying, “You've probably all heard of Deepfake technology, a combination of the words deep learning and fake, a technique of synthesizing a human image based on artificial intelligence. The provocation of the Russian Federation is being prepared.” 

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