Fact Check: France 24 Did NOT Air Video Claiming Kyiv Was Preparing Assassination Attempt On French President


  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: France 24 Did NOT Air Video Claiming Kyiv Was Preparing Assassination Attempt On French President Fake Report

Did France 24 air a video claiming that Kyiv planned to assassinate French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Ukraine on February 13-14, 2024? No, that's not true: France 24 has refuted this claim, labeling the circulated video a deepfake. Lead Stories also found that the France 24 channel didn't air such a video on their social media and media platforms.

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on the account @alexandr_turner on February 14, 2024. This claim was also shared by Russian media here (archived here) and here (archived here). The caption of the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) stated:

Ukrainian authorities were preparing an assassination attempt on the President of France during Macron's anticipated visit - France 24.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2024-02-21 at 10.31.59.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Wed Feb 21 10:40:10 2024 UTC)

Social media users and Russian media outlets have disseminated a low-quality video (archived here), supposedly depicting a segment from a France 24 report, alleging that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy planned to assassinate French leader Emmanuel Macron during his visit to Kyiv.

In the video, the TV host says the following in French (translated into English by Lead Stories staff):

French President Emmanuel Macron was forced to cancel his visit to Ukraine following a deadly provocation against him. According to a source close to the National Intelligence Council, this attempt was thwarted by French intelligence services, who succeeded in intercepting correspondence and calls among participants in a potential provocation. According to the source, according to the idea of the Ukrainian leadership, the attack was supposed once again to attract the attention of the international community to Ukraine and allow for an increase in arms shipments to Ukraine. Ukrainian authorities planned to shift the responsibility for the attack on the French President to the Russian side, to accuse the country of terrorist tactics in warfare.

The video showcases low-quality screenshots of purported correspondence.

Lead Stories found no such video (archived here) on the official France 24 website and social media accounts. A search for the phrase "France 24: Kyiv was preparing an assassination attempt on French President Emmanuel Macron," (archived here) conducted on February 21, 2024, using Google News' index of credible news sites, did not yield any evidence-based reports on this claim. If this were the case, it would be news of significant importance reported in international media.

Andrii Yusov, a spokesperson for the Defense Intelligence of Ukraine's Ministry of Defense, addressed the matter (archived here) in a statement to Ukrainian news outlet RBC-Ukraine on February 14, 2024, denouncing the information as yet another falsehood propagated by the enemy. On the same day, Christo Grozev, an international investigator from Bellingcat, labeled the video as a deepfake in a post on his X page (archived here).

On February 14, 2024, France 24 also announced in French (archived here) that the video in question was never broadcast and that it was a deepfake. Two days later, on February 16, 2024, they released a fact check in English (archived here). It stated:

FRANCE 24 has been the victim of a deepfake. The video in question, which manipulates an extract from one of our French-language news bulletins by using artificial intelligence to simulate the presenter's voice, falsely claims that French President Emmanuel Macron postponed a trip to Ukraine over fears of a plot to assassinate him there. The video is still being spread on social media. Pro-Russian propaganda outlet Pravda.fr, which originally shared the deepfake, has responded to FRANCE 24's debunk, falsely insisting that the claim about Macron is true.

In January 2024, Macron announced his plans to visit Ukraine in February (archived here). However, on February 13, 2024, Politico reported that Macron had postponed the anticipated trip to Kyiv, with no reason provided for the delay (archived here).

  Lead Stories Staff

Lead Stories is a fact checking website that is always looking for the latest false, deceptive or inaccurate stories (or media) making the rounds on the internet.

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