Late last week, Russian media began publishing videos alleging that the head of the Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR), Kyrylo Budanov, had been captured by Russia, after reporting earlier that Budanov had been killed in a missile strike.

After a large-scale Russian missile strike on Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU) positions early last week, Russian media reported that Budanov was killed in the attack.

Later, the media revised its claims saying the Russian army had allegedly captured Budanov.

A fact-check investigation of the information disseminated by Russian media revealed the footage was re-used from a fake video distributed last fall, in which artificial intelligence (AI) technology used images of Budanov’s face on a computer-generated body.

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When Kyiv Post contacted the HUR for comment, Andriy Yusov, a spokesperson for the HUR, denied that Budanov had been in captivity last week, saying that Budanov has been present at his office where he also has resided with his wife, Marianna, since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

After confirming that Budanov was still at work, Yusov told Kyiv Post: “Russian propaganda is experiencing a crisis of genre and is in the grip of its own lies, and Kyrylo Budanov continues to effectively lead the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine and destroy the Russian occupiers...”

Russian media has previously disseminated fake videos of Ukrainian officials, also generated using AI technology and publicly available photos.

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Russian Propagandists Say Ohmatdyt Children’s Hospital Strike Was a Western False Flag

A former Ukrainian MP said on a Rossiya 1 TV program that the missile attack on the Ohmatdyt children’s hospital was timed to gain increased support for Kyiv at the NATO summit.

On Nov. 7 last year, the Kremlin spread a fake video of a supposed statement, by Valeriy Zaluzhny, then the AFU Commander-in-Chief.

The computer-generated fake Zaluzhny in the propaganda video claimed that President Zelensky had ordered Zaluzhny's aide killed. The AI image of Zaluzhny claimed that Zelensky would also kill Zaluzhny and then hand Ukraine over to Putin. AI-generated Zaluzhny also blamed the President for what it called Ukraine’s “counteroffensive failure.”

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In the fake video, fake-Zaluzhny urged Ukrainian citizens to protest against Zelensky on Maidan Nezalezhnosti square, and for AFU members to leave their positions and march on Kyiv. A second similar video was published several days later.

In the second fake video, another AI-Zaluzhny image claimed that the media, “as expected, had called his statements” the Russian media had released on Nov 7 “a deep fake and Russian propaganda.”

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