The recent developments in the Russia-Ukraine conflict took a strange turn when a purportedly AI-generated image of an explosion at the Pentagon briefly went viral, leading to a flurry of misinformation and confusion online. The fake image, which depicted a large explosion outside the Pentagon, was circulated on fringe Twitter pages early Monday morning (#​1 #​​2)​. The image was quickly debunked as a hoax by the Department of Defense and the Arlington Fire and EMS Department, who confirmed that there was no immediate danger or hazards to the public (​#3​​ #4)​.

The source of this deepfake has not been identified, but its realistic appearance has drawn attention to the rising issue of AI-generated misinformation​ (#5​). The incident caused a brief dip in the US stock market, demonstrating the potential real-world consequences of such misinformation (#​6 #​​7​). This incident will likely fuel ongoing concerns over the misuse of advanced AI systems to spread chaos and misinformation online​ (#8 #​​9​​ #10​).

Meanwhile, the war between Russia and Ukraine continues. Russia has claimed to have fully captured Ukraine’s Bakhmut, and the White House estimates that Russia’s army has suffered 100,000 casualties in the last five months, including the deaths of 20,000 Russian soldiers​ (#11)​. The three-day G7 summit in Japan recently concluded, with leaders pledging more support for Ukraine following Russia’s February 2022 full-scale invasion (#​12)​. US President Joe Biden has also confirmed a new military aid package worth $375m for Ukraine​ (#13​).

As the conflict continues and misinformation spreads, it is increasingly important for the public to be critical of the information they encounter online, and for governments and organizations to take steps to combat the spread of AI-generated deepfakes.


  1. Forbes: Fake, AI-Generated Image Of Pentagon Explosion Briefly Goes Viral Amid Ukraine-Russia Conflict
  2. NY Post: Fake Pentagon explosion photo causes brief stock market dip
  3. Al Jazeera: Ukraine-Russia war: Latest news, live updates – May 22