Russian authorities have immediately denied media reports claiming a fire had broken out at the Moscow headquarters of the Ministry of Defense. Controversy has also arisen regarding manipulated photos using artificial intelligence (AI) that depict a fake explosion within the U.S. Department of Defense premises in Washington, D.C.
According to CNN on Wednesday, the Russian state-run TASS news agency reported that a fire had occurred on a balcony of the Russian Defense Ministry building, with rescue teams on site. In a video posted on the Azerbaijani APA news agency's website that day, a thick pillar of smoke was seen billowing from one side of the Russian Defense Ministry building, illuminated by the blaze during the late hours.
However, shortly after, TASS cited the Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations, stating that "the fire brigade that arrived at the scene could not detect any fire" and that "it was not verified whether there were any confirmed cases of fire or casualties." Some social media users raised suspicions that the image had been manipulated by AI.
CNN reported that on the same day, U.S. intelligence authorities stated the possibility of two unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) having been deployed from Ukraine to launch an attack on the Moscow Kremlin. Following the drone explosion incident on May 2 at the Kremlin, the Russian authorities claimed it was an "assassination attempt on President Vladimir Putin."
According to the New York Times, Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Russian private military group Wagner Group, argued that if the (Ukrainian) war continues, it could end with soldiers rising up and concluding like the 1917 (Russian) revolution.
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