Celebrities have been tricked into providing video messages which have been manipulated into pro-Russian propaganda.
These videos were doctored to falsely suggest that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was a drug addict.
The latest dirty tricks were uncovered by the Microsoft Threat Analysis Centre.
At least five celebrities have been caught out: Elijah Wood of The Lord of the Rings; Elvis Presley’s ex-wife Priscilla Presley; Breaking Bad actor Dean Norris; The Office actor Kate Flannery; Scrubs actor John McGinley and System of a Down bassist Shavo Odadjian.
All subscribed to Cameo, a service which enables stars to record “personalised videos” to send to fans, such as birthday messages.
None of the original videos are publicly viewable and exactly who doctored the videos is not known.
But they have surfaced on VK, the Russian equivalent of Facebook and Telegram, a platform popular in Russia and based in Dubai.
In the videos the unwitting actors are shown sending a message to “Vladimir”, urging him to get help for substance abuse.
In each of the videos, seen by NBC, the celebrities speak into the camera and talk of somebody called “Vlad” with drug problems.
Mr Zelensky is not named in any of the videos by the celebrities themselves. This is done by overlaid text.
The videos have been seized on by the Russian news media including Kremlin-friendly state-owned outlets RIA Novosti, Sputnik and Russia-24.
Microsoft analysts have observed seven of these videos since late July.
According to the Microsoft report, Russia has been using video increasingly in recent months and “spoofing” mainstream Western outlets.
“Like previous propaganda campaigns, this activity focuses on painting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as a corrupt drug addict and Western support for Kyiv as detrimental to those countries’ domestic populations.”
It added the latest tactic “marks a novel approach by pro-Russia actors seeking to further the narrative in the online information space.”
The ruse was dismissed by President Zelensky’s office.
“Russia has been waging an information war for many years — not only with Ukraine, but with the whole world at various levels,” it said in a statement.
“The civilised world and all corporations and companies that work with information in one way or another should be united in the face of this threat.”
The Telegraph has approached Cameo for comment.
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