4 December 2023
Fact checkFalse

False: Chinese subtitles of Putin’s ‘anti-Israel’ speech are fabricated, not translation

Putin’s speeches in the viral videos were given months before the Israel-Hamas war broke out. The Russian president did not threaten Israel or said Russia would join the war.

Two videos of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech allegedly cautioning against Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip have been widely shared on social media recently, including Kuaishou, Facebook, and Douyin (which was later removed).

The Chinese subtitles of what seems to be a televised address indicate that Putin admonishes “the Israeli invaders to cease the slaughter in Gaza” and condemns Israel’s action as “genocide.”

The supposed Chinese translation also displays his words as saying, “Otherwise, we will not stand idly by” and “I will give all Arabic countries my full support and join them to take [Israel] down.”

However, the subtitles used in these videos do not reflect what Putin says. They were wholly fabricated.

In fact, each clip shows a different occasion even though the Chinese subtitles are identical.

These speeches were also made before the war broke out in June 2023 and February 2022.

The manipulated videos have over-the-shoulder graphics showing what looks like the scenes from the Israel-Hamas war. Supposedly, they were added to fit the content of made-up Chinese subtitles.

What Putin Said

Through reverse image search, we found the original speech in one of the videos. It was released on June 24, 2023 and Putin was addressing the rebellion led by the Wagner mercenary group the day before.

Comparison of the footage (left) posted by The Telegraph on YouTube and manipulated video (right) with an overlaying subtitle that reads “Israeli encroachment on Palestine”; the two frames are identical.

Comparison of the footage (left) posted by The Telegraph on YouTube and manipulated video (right) on Douyin.

The other video, which was shared on Kuaishou, comes from another televised address on Feb. 24, 2022, in which he announced a “special military operation” against Ukraine.

This manipulated video seems to have been created by cutting and stitching various parts of the speech from the 55-minute-long address.

Comparison of the original footage (left) posted on the Kremlin’s official website with correct subtitles and the manipulated video (right) on Kuaishou.

As far as Annie Lab can tell, Putin discussed the latest war between Israel and Hamas a few times since it began in October, but he made no statement that Russia would participate in the war.

Reuters reported that he warned Israel against a ground offensive in Gaza that would cause “unacceptable” casualties of civilians on Oct. 13, adding that “Israel had the right to defend itself” and called for negotiations.

Russia also proposed a resolution to the United Nations Security Council on Oct. 13, calling for an immediate ceasefire, but it failed to obtain enough votes to proceed.

During an Oct. 26 Kremlin meeting, the Russian top leader warned that the war in Gaza could spread well beyond the Middle East.

Meanwhile, increasing anti-semitism on Chinese social media has been widely reported by international news outlets in recent weeks.