Russian state TV deepfake blames Ukraine for Crocus City Hall attack

Occurred: March 2024

A Russian TV station broadcast a fake synthetic video of Ukrainian officials, including top security advisor Oleksiy Danilov, admitting to orchestrating the Crocus City Hall terror attack in Moscow. 

Gunmen opened fire at the Crocus City Hall, a popular concert hall on the outskirts of Moscow, killing over 100 people and injuring many more. The deadly attack, which came shortly after the re-election of Vladimir Putin as Russian president, had reputedly been flagged by US intelligence to Russian authorities.

ISIS Khorasan officially claimed responsibility for the attack; the deepfake appeared part of a larger effort to defect blame on Ukraine, with which Russia is at war. Putin later appeared to accuse Ukraine of orchestrating the attack in a TV statement. 

The video falsely quoted Danilov as saying that Ukraine was behind the attack.. According to BBC Verify reporter Shayan Sardarizadeh, the video mashed together AI-generated audio from recent interviews with two Ukrainian officials, including Danilov. 

Operator: NTV
Country: Russia, Ukraine
Sector: Govt - defence; Politics
Purpose: Defect blame
Technology: Deepfake - video, audio
Issue: Mis/disinformation
Transparency: Governance; Marketing