Several Russian radio stations, victims of a "hacking", broadcast Monday a false speech by President Vladimir Putin reporting a Ukrainian "invasion" and announcing the establishment of martial law in the border regions of Ukraine, said the Russian authorities.
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This "speech" claiming that "the Ukrainian forces armed to the teeth (...) and supported by Washington have invaded the Kursk, Belgorod and Bryansk regions," was broadcast Monday on several radio stations in these territories bordering Ukraine, according to local authorities. The voice and tone sounded very much like those of the Russian president.
Multiplication of attacks on Russian territory
The same message, attributed to Vladimir Putin and repeated on some social networks, announced the implementation of martial law in these regions, the upcoming signing of a presidential decree on general mobilization in Russia and called on local residents to evacuate. This hacking came as incursions and bombings have multiplied for two weeks in the Belgorod region where pro-Ukrainian Russian fighters attack Russian forces.
It was indeed a hack. We are aware," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told Russian news agencies, assuring that control of frequencies had been restored by the radio stations concerned. "The information about the invasion of Ukrainian forces in the Belgorod region, the establishment of martial law, the general mobilization and evacuation (...) are a fake," said the authorities of the Belgorod region. "The objective of this message is to sow panic among peaceful residents," assured on Telegram the crisis cell set up by the authorities, calling to "keep calm" and trust only "reliable" sources of information.
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In the Voronezh region, which also borders Ukraine and where some radios have also been hacked, authorities assured residents that there was "no reason to worry". "The situation in the region is under the control of the authorities and law enforcement," they said on Telegram.
According to one of the affected radio stations, MIR, it lost control of its frequencies for about 40 minutes in the afternoon, calling anything that was broadcast during that period a "total fake and provocation". In February, false anti-aircraft alerts had already been broadcast by several Russian radio and television channels, again due to hacking.