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Russian TV and radio stations hacked with fake Putin message

June 5, 2023

Hackers took over the broadcasts of several TV and radio stations in the regions bordering Ukraine. The Kremlin said authorities have regained control of the airwaves.

Russian President Vladimir Putin
The hackers broadcast a deepfake Vladimir Putin announcementImage: Gavriil Grigorov/ASSOCIATED PRESS/picture alliance

Several Russian TV channels and radio stations were hacked to broadcast a fake message from Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Kremlin said on Monday.

The fake announcement claimed that "Ukrainian troops armed to the teeth by NATO and with Washington's consent and support have invaded the Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk" regions.

It also announced, falsely, that martial law had been declared and that a general evacuation of citizens was underway in the three border regions.

"This was indeed a hack," Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Monday. "Control has already been restored."

Nevertheless, a number of citizens have been evacuated from the areas closed to Ukraine in recent days amid renewed shelling in Belgorod.

Local officials condemn fake report

Officials in the Belgorod region — where Moscow has accused Ukrainian troops of staging a raid, which Kyiv denies — said the broadcast was a so-called deepfake intended to "sow panic among peaceful Belgorod residents."

Meanwhile, in the neighboring Voronezh region, officials also warned residents about the "hacking of radio broadcasting frequencies."

The Voronezh authorities added that "there is no cause for concern."

One of the broadcasters that was hacked, Radio Mir, said the incident lasted around 40 minutes.

zc/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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