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USA. Deepfake of a State Department spokesman on the Internet. Fake recording of Matthew Miller allegedly talking about the attacks on Belgorod

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A day after Washington allowed Ukraine to use – with certain restrictions – American weapons in attacks on Russia, a fake video appeared on the Internet in which a US spokesman allegedly commented on this decision. The New York Times reports that American officials said they had no information about who the author of the deepfake was. At the same time, they expressed concern that “Russia may use such manipulation techniques.”

A 49-second fake video showing State Department spokesman Matthew Miller commenting on US support for Ukraine, appeared on the Internet on Friday, The New York Times reported on Saturday. The deepfake was posted online the day after the president Joe Biden allowed Ukraine to attack with American weapons inside Russianear Kharkov.

FIND OUT MORE: The US president “has consented to the use of weapons for this purpose.” The head of American diplomacy speaks out

Fragments of real recordings were used to fabricate the clip

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In the fabricated clip, which was edited from fragments of real recordings, Miller is said to have suggested that the Russian city of Belgorod, 40 kilometers from the border with Ukraine, was a legitimate target of Ukrainian attacks.

NYT journalists noted that “despite clear traces of manipulation, (the recording – editor's note) seems authentic and illustrates the growing threat of disinformation, especially fake videos based on artificial intelligence.”

READ ON KONKRET24: We can no longer avoid deep fakes on the Internet – scientists on the possibility of their verification

Who is the author of the fake?

American officials said they had no information about who made the video. At the same time, they expressed concern that “Russia may use such techniques to manipulate public opinion about the war in Ukraine and even American political discourse.”

Miller himself condemned the recording. “The Kremlin has made spreading disinformation a primary strategy to mislead people both in Russia and abroad,” he said.

What's in the manipulated recording?

In the fake recording, a US State Department spokesman says there are “basically no civilians left” in Belgorod. This is in response to a reporter's question, which was also fabricated. “At this point (the city) is practically full of military targets and we see the same thing starting in the surrounding regions,” Miller can be heard saying in the recording. “Russia must receive a signal that this is unacceptable,” he adds.

The authors of The New York Times' publication emphasize that “the claim contained in the film about Belgorod is completely false.” They add that the city was the target of previous Ukrainian attacks, but approximately 340,000 residents have not been evacuated from it so far.

“False claims that civilians have fled and that the city is primarily a military zone may suggest the West is willing to support mass attacks there, which is not true,” explains the NYT.

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

The situation in Belgorod

The American daily reports that anti-aircraft sirens can be heard in Belgorod, explosions occur regularly, buildings are destroyed and civilians are killed. “The series of explosions that took place on December 30, 2023, for which Moscow blamed Ukraine, killed 25 people and injured at least 100. The attack occurred a day after Russian airstrikes on cities across Ukraine that killed 57 people, and 160 were injured. Residents of some regions near the border were evacuated, and many smaller towns and villages within the border are regularly targeted by Ukrainian drones and artillery,” the article wrote.

According to the NYT, at the end of April, the governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, announced that at least 120 civilians, including 11 children, had died as a result of Ukrainian attacks. He also said that since Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, another 651 people have been injured.

Main photo source: photosince/Shutterstock

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