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Putin’s declaration of war against Ukraine taped days earlier: reports

Russian President Vladimir Putin recorded his declaration of war against Ukraine days earlier, according to multiple reports. Putin pre-taped the address that aired on state TV Thursday in Russia on Monday, according to the country’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper. The outlet posted metadata purportedly from the Kremlin’s website indicating the footage was created at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21. В середине третьего ночи (МСК) 24 февраля ростовскими диспетчерами было опубликовано извещение NОТАМ, закрывающее полёты вдоль границы с Украиной, и его начало было датировано 22 февраля (16:13 МСК) 3/4— CIT (@CITeam_ru) February 24, 2022 “You can verify this by downloading the video from the Kremlin website and checking its properties,” according to a translation of the newspaper’s tweet. The Moscow-based Conflict Intelligence Team also noted that Putin, 69, wore the same maroon tie and dark suit during Thursday’s address as he did during a meeting with the Russian Security Council on Monday. The researchers also cited data showing Russian air traffic controllers in Rostov posted a notice to shut down flights along the border of Ukraine beginning Tuesday. “This suggests that a large-scale invasion of Ukraine was planned for February 22, but was postponed for reasons unknown to us,” CIT tweeted early Thursday. Not all analysts were convinced, however. A journalist for Bellingcat, a Netherlands-based investigative news site, said Putin’s address was “apparently” filmed Thursday and that Novaya “just scraped the wrong video” for its report. “This is the wrong video,” analyst Aric Toler tweeted, adding that Putin’s war declaration was 28 minutes long rather than 55-minutes – his preclude to all-out war on Monday when he announced Russia would recognize two breakaway regions in Eastern Ukraine and denounced the country’s sovereignty. The Financial Time’s Moscow bureau chief, meanwhile, posted a side-by-side image of Putin from his “rambling speech” on Monday and his war declaration Thursday. “Quite possible this was pre-recorded, especially given the separatist letters were dated Tuesday,” bureau chief Max Seddon tweeted. “He’s wearing the same outfit, down to the tie.”

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