The mayors of Berlin, Madrid and Vienna have been tricked by an impostor posing as Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko using a ‘deep fake’ video of him during video conference calls.
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“There was no indication that the videoconference was not with a real person. In all likelihood, it is “deep fake”. The LKA Berlin, state protection service, has been seized,” the office of Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said on Twitter on Friday.
The interview between the two counterparts had been interrupted prematurely when the topics discussed would have aroused mistrust on the side of Berlin. The suspicions were later confirmed by Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andrij Melnuk.
“It is unfortunately part of the reality that war is being waged by all means, including on the Net, to undermine trust and discredit Ukraine’s partners and allies through digital methods,” the mayor said on social media.
The mayor of Madrid, Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida, was also the victim of the same subterfuge on Friday and also ended the call quickly, the German daily ‘Bild’ reported.
Conversely, the mayor of Vienna, Michael Ludwig, had not realized that it was a false interlocutor.
“Since no sensitive topics were discussed during the conversation, it is certainly annoying in the concrete case, but it is not a big problem,” he mentioned according to Austrian media ORF. .
“During much of the interview, predictable topics were discussed. In the end, he became very demanding, and it was still in a bit of an unusual tone. But that would not have prompted me to question what was said, because from my side, no subject was broached which should have been modified afterwards,” he added.