World Watch: Putin denies using body double in conversation with...

Watch: Putin denies using body double in conversation with his own AI deepfake

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Vladimir Putin denied using a body double during a marathon phone-in press conference broadcast on Russian television.

The question was posed by a student at St. Petersburg State University using an AI-generated deepfake of the Russian president that appeared on screen.

Putin told the deepfake Putin that he was his “first twin” in the bizarre segment.

“You can talk like me and use my voice, my pitch, but I figured only one person can speak like myself and use my voice, and this is going to be me,” he said.

The Russian president has long been rumoured to use a body double for public appearances.

In a 2020 interview he said he had never done so but that he had been offered one for security reasons.

Ukraine aid ‘will come to an end’

Mr Putin answered questions from journalists and members of the public for more than four hours during a live broadcast on Wednesday morning.

The programme is a longstanding end of year tradition in Russia but was cancelled last year amid discontent with the war in Ukraine.

Buoyed by Western squabbles over future funding for Ukraine’s war effort, Mr Putin brought back the address and boasted that “freeloading” Ukraine is destined to run out of military aid.

“They have been trying to maintain their manufacturing capability but they have actually been importing things for free, freeloading,” he said.

“But it will come to an end sooner or later.”

He also insisted the war in Ukraine is not as brutal as Gaza, saying there is “nothing like” the mass civilian casualties being seen in the Palestinian territory.

“Everybody here and around the world can see and look at the special military operation and at what is happening in Gaza and feel the difference,” he said.

Mr Putin ruled out a second mobilisation of Russian troops and revealed that 617,000 soldiers are currently serving in Ukraine, nearly twice as many men as the Russian army had when the war began.

Elsewhere, he apologised to a pensioner who complained about spiralling egg prices, but only after saying he could “eat a dozen of them” for breakfast and making a smutty joke.

The Russian word for eggs is slang for testicles, which prompted the president to quip: “I asked the agriculture minister how his eggs are doing, and he said they were fine.”

Mr Putin was more serious when asked if he would consider a prisoner swap for detained American reporter Evan Gershkovich and ex-Marine Paul Whelan.

“We want to reach an agreement, and these agreements must be mutually acceptable and suit both parties,” he said.

“I hope we find a solution but, I repeat, the American side must hear us and make an appropriate decision, one that suits the Russian side.”

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