As the invasion of Ukraine started, many people took to social media to look for and spread updates regarding the situation in Ukraine. Many videos surfaced of the “on-ground” situation, but the news agencies refrained from broadcasting them as verified sources of information. Social media, however, was not so keen on awaiting confirmation.
A video of Russian President Vladimir Putin surfaced and took Twitter by storm. Anyone who understands Russian knows that the subtitles in the video are anything but what Vladimir Putin is portrayed to have been saying.
There it is then: pic.twitter.com/axLzd82TM1
— Kamran Shafi (@KamranShafi46) February 27, 2022
However, for those who rely on translation, Putin’s statement read, “Whoever is saying that Russia is isolated in Ukraine is lying. This week I hosted the Prime Minister of Pakistan, a brave man. He resisted western pressure to accept my invitation to visit Russia. We discussed many areas of mutual interest including Afghanistan and trade cooperation and soon I will visit Pakistan to sign a major oil pipeline deal.”
Although the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, did visit the Russian Federation, and they did have talks on many areas of mutual interest, but the captions in the video message seem to be fabricated.
In the original address, the Russian President appealed to the Ukrainian soldiers to stop letting the Neo-Nazis and Banderites use their women and children as humans. He asked the Ukrainian soldier to take back the control of Kyiv from the Neo-Nazis who came to the city and held it hostage.
Thankfully, the video was not a deepfake but merely a fabrication of the subtitles; still, it points to the risks of the disinformation campaign, which is likely to ensue in future wars. Earlier in 2020 before the U.S. elections, political ads were to be broadcast in the United States, featuring deepfake versions of Putin and the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un giving out a message “that America doesn’t need any election interference from them; it will ruin its democracy itself”.
The ads were supposed to be broadcast on American media channels, but the media houses dropped the idea at the 11th hour. Deepfakes uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to generate visual and audio content to fabricate content.
The Banderivtsi are members of an assortment of right-wing organizations in Ukraine.
The term derives from the name of Stepan Bandera (1909-1959), head of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists that formed in 1929 as an amalgamation of movements, including the Union of Ukrainian Fascists.
Neo-Nazism refers to the post World War II militant, social, and political movements seeking to revive and reinstate the Nazi ideology. Neo-Nazis employ their ideology to promote hatred and white supremacy, attack racial and ethnic minorities, and in some cases to create a fascist state.