(Bloomberg) -- An emergency TV and radio broadcast apparently from President Vladimir Putin announcing that Ukraine had invaded Russia was the result of a hacking attack, the Kremlin said Monday.
Putin “definitely” made no appeal to the nation and the hacked broadcast shown on several networks has been eliminated, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, according to the state-run Tass news service. There was no indication of who may have been involved and of how the broadcast appeared to include the president’s voice and image.
The video and radio message apparently showed Putin addressing Russians as “brothers and sisters” and declaring martial law in the Belgorod, Bryansk and Kursk regions following what it said was a Ukrainian invasion backed by NATO weaponry that began at 4 a.m.
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The voice resembling the president urged residents to evacuate “deep into Russian territory” and said he would shortly declare a full-scale mobilization to defend against the attack, before ending “The enemy will be defeated, victory will be ours.”
The broadcast appeared after fighting recently erupted in the Belgorod region with cross-border incursions from Ukraine by a Russian volunteer militia committed to overthrowing Putin. Russia’s Defense Ministry has sent troops backed by artillery and air support to repel the interventions.
Russia is also bracing for a long-anticipated Ukrainian counteroffensive aimed at regaining control of occupied areas of the country’s east and south seized by Moscow’s army early in Putin’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
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The broadcast seemed to carry conscious echoes of responses from the Soviet Union’s leadership to the start of the Nazi German invasion on June 22, 1941. Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov said the invasion started at 4 a.m. in a radio address that day which ended with the words “the enemy will be defeated. Victory will be ours.”
Soviet leader Josef Stalin addressed the population as “brothers and sisters” in a July 3 speech calling for resistance to the invaders.
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