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UK Calls on YouTube to Take Down Videos ‘Doctored’ by Russia

UK Calls on YouTube to Take Down Videos ‘Doctored’ by Russia

Wednesday, 23 March, 2022 - 17:45
YouTube app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. (Reuters)

Britain's Ministry of Defense (MoD) on Wednesday called on YouTube to remove videos from its online platform of a hoax video call to defense minister Ben Wallace, which they said had been doctored by the Russian state.

Wallace last week ordered an inquiry after an impostor claiming to be the Ukrainian prime minister was able to contact him. Wallace said he ended the 10-minute call when he became suspicious about the "misleading" questions he was being asked.

Several clips of the video have subsequently appeared online, showing Wallace speaking from the back of a moving vehicle while he is asked about a range of issues including nuclear weapons and NATO.

"We are calling on YouTube to help us support Ukraine by taking down videos doctored by the Russian state and disseminated to try and sap the morale of a people fighting for their freedom," the MoD said on Twitter.

The department posted a longer letter calling on YouTube, the world's most used streaming video service, to remove or at least block access to the videos in line with the Google-owned company's March 11 decision to block access to channels associated with Russian state-funded media.

It detailed two objections with the video relating to NLAW anti-tank missiles sent from Britain to Ukraine.

"The doctored clip asserts that the UK's supply of NLAWS to Ukraine have "often failed". Our NLAWS have not failed, this is factually incorrect," the MoD said.

Secondly, speaking about the supply of those weapons, Wallace says "We've got more coming, we're running out of our own". However the MoD said this was factually incorrect: "We have no supply shortages".

The MoD did not detail exactly how the videos had been manipulated, but said that in their "modified and edited" form they could be used by the Russian state to support its actions in Ukraine.

"I am confident you would not wish to be a conduit for Russian propaganda or be in any way associated with the potential consequences of this type of media manipulation," the letter said.

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