‘Deepfake’ video shows Volodymyr Zelensky telling Ukrainians to surrender

A “deepfake” video of the Ukrainian president telling his people to lay down their weapons is circulating online.

The clip shows what looks to be Volodymyr Zelensky standing at a podium in a green sweatshirt.

He appears to say he has decided to return the eastern region of Donbas to Russia, that his army has “failed”, and that Ukrainians should surrender, Sky News reports.

“It turned out to be not so easy being the president,” he says, before concluding: “My advice to you is to lay down arms and return to your families. It is not worth it dying in this war. My advice to you is to live. I am going to do the same.”

However, the video is a so-called “deepfake”, in which computer technology is used to manipulate images or videos to produce fabricated content.

The most prominent telltale sign that the clip has been digitally created is that Mr Zelensky’s head is too big for the body.

The President called the stunt a “childish provocation”. He wrote in a post on Instagram: “I only advise that the troops of the Russian Federation lay down their arms and return home.

“We are already home, we are defending our land, our children, our families. So, we are not going to lay down any arms until our victory.”

The Ukrainian Centre for Strategic Communications and Information Security previously warned that deepfakes of Mr Zelensky could find their way online.

He has become a powerful figurehead of Ukraine’s resistance since Russia invaded, hailed as a hero for defending his country against repeated attacks.

He has called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to meet him face-to-face in Jerusalem for peace talks.

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