A spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence directorate (HUR) suggested on Wednesday that the latest fake news of President Putin’s supposed death is Kremlin-orchestrated, intended to measure the reaction of Russian citizens, from the ordinary to the elite.

“This indeed would be good news, but it is only a message spun by Russia’s anonymous Telegram channels,” HUR spokesman Andriy Yusov told NV Radio. “This is an internal issue, designed for the domestic audience in Russia.”

Rumors of Putin’s death have popped up several times on the Telegram social media platform, the latest being a supposed fatal heart attack last week.

The “GeneralSVR” Telegram account then reported: “At the moment there is an attempted coup in Russia! Russian President Vladimir Putin died tonight at his residence on Valdai. At 20:42 (8:42 p.m.) Moscow time, doctors stopped resuscitation and pronounced him dead.”

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According to SamaaTV, there were about a half-million searches for phrases like “Putin dead” following the last hoax from GeneralSVR on the popular search engine, Yandex.

As Kyiv Post reported, “The [GeneralSVR) Telegram channel is run by a supposed retired Lieutenant General, using the alias “Viktor Mikhailovich,” who is supposedly a former Kremlin insider and who claims to maintain links with Putin’s inner circle.”

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On Wednesday, Yusov said these false flags, including reports of a Putin body-double, are designed for the Russian dictator to gain insight into how his own supposed allies react to the news of his death, as well as the media, certain Russian elites, and even individuals on social platforms.

“In this way, the empire, which is built around its security apparatus, is learning how to further manage things,” Yusov said, noting that Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov is regularly asked to respond to the rumors publically.

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“It is obvious that this is part of a certain scheme,” he said.

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