Zaluzhnyi's dismissal caused wave of absurd Russian fakes

Zaluzhnyi's dismissal caused wave of absurd Russian fakes

Fact Check
Ukraine's ex-army chief allegedly joined European Solidarity and called for coup

Following the dismissal of Valerii Zaluzhnyi as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the appointment of Oleksandr Syrskyi in his place, Russian propaganda created a wave of absurd fakes.

The first fake, spread by Russian Telegram channels, bots on the X social media platform and Russian media concerns the fact that the former army chief allegedly wants to "end the war" and "sends signals" to Russia. The propagandists are distributing an allegedly fresh photo of Zaluzhnyi, where he shows with his fingers a sign in the form of the Latin letter "Z," which Putin made one of the symbols of his invasion of Ukraine.

This is a fake. Graphic editors were used to edit the photo. The original photo, in which Zaluzhnyi shows his famous "V" sign with the back of his hand, was posted on Volodymyr Zelensky's official Telegram channel on February 8, 2024.

The second fake is about Zaluzhnyi allegedly becoming a member of European Solidarity, the party led by Zelensky's political opponent, former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. As "evidence," Russian "z blogger" Telegram channels published a photo of the party certificate of the ex-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, which he allegedly received on February 12, 2024.

This is a fake photo. Using graphic editors, the propagandists forged the party ID of the former Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine, Volodymyr Omelyan, which is easy to find on the internet, by changing the ID number, date of accession to the party, full name and photo.

The photo of Zaluzhnyi, which was used by the propagandists for this forgery, can also be easily found on the internet. It was published at a time when Zaluzhnyi was not the commander-in-chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. In the original photo, he is in military uniform.

The third fake, spread by Russian propaganda about Zaluzhnyi, concerns his call for a military coup. In a deepfake, the former army chief calls on Ukrainian soldiers to leave the trenches and go to Kyiv and says that 2,000 fighters have already joined him.

The original video, which was used to create the deepfake, was released on December 6, 2022, when Zaluzhnyi congratulated the Ukrainian military on Armed Forces Day.

Also, the "Try AI or Not" service for checking audio generated by AI confirmed that the audio track to the deepfake was likely AI.

Russian propaganda earlier faked a Human Rights Watch video.

Andriy Olenin

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