In a desperate attempt to bolster support for Russia's ongoing war in Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has reportedly deployed an online army of social media bots to disseminate fake endorsements from high-profile celebrities. The propaganda campaign, described by experts as "brazen" and "ham-fisted," falsely attributes pro-Russian statements to stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Angelina Jolie, Elton John, Lionel Messi, and Scarlett Johansson.

More than 28 months after Russian troops invaded Ukraine, sources reveal that Putin ordered the widespread disinformation effort to convince both Western audiences and his own disillusioned followers to abandon their support for Ukraine. According to a Hollywood insider (via The National Enquirer), the fabricated quotes are laughably scripted and as believable as reality TV drama. For instance, one post falsely claims that Jennifer Aniston said, "We are impoverished. It's time to forget about Ukraine."

Other bogus posts include Angelina Jolie allegedly calling the European Union "corrupt," Elton John stating, "We have fallen into the Ukrainian trap. Now the EU is crumbling," Lionel Messi declaring, "Ukraine doesn't exist anymore. All our money went down the drain," and Scarlett Johansson asserting, "All countries start thinking about themselves, and the EU is falling apart."

An intelligence insider described the stunt as "brazen," adding that Putin is counting on less savvy social media users to fall for these fabricated statements. The Kyiv Independent reported that these curious quotes were viewed over half a million times within days of their release.

This disinformation deluge comes as Russia faces plummeting morale and mounting casualties, with reports suggesting as many as half a million Russian troops have been killed or injured in the conflict. The intelligence source noted that the campaign underscores Putin's desperation and delusion as his military grapples with increasing hardships and waning domestic approval.

"He's somehow convinced if Western celebs condemn his enemies, his people will follow," the insider added.

Dr. Ian Garner, a scholar of Russian propaganda, expressed astonishment at the Kremlin's bot campaigns, criticizing the poor quality of the content. "What's most astonishing about the Kremlin's bot campaigns is how obviously shoddy the content is. All that money, and they can't even hire any clever writers!"

The celebrities have not responded to claims.

The fabricated celebrity endorsements highlight the Kremlin’s increasingly desperate measures to sway public opinion amid a protracted and costly conflict. As the war drags on, the use of social media to spread misinformation underscores the evolving nature of modern warfare, where battles are fought not only on the ground but also in the realm of public perception.

The response from the international community has been swift, with social media platforms working to identify and remove the fake posts. However, the rapid spread of disinformation poses a significant challenge, as even a brief exposure to false narratives can have a lasting impact on public opinion.

The use of bots and fake endorsements by the Russian government is part of a broader strategy to undermine support for Ukraine and destabilize Western alliances. This tactic reflects the Kremlin's understanding of the power of celebrity influence and its potential to shape public discourse.

Despite these efforts, the resilience and resistance of the Ukrainian people, supported by the international community, remain strong. The ongoing conflict continues to draw global condemnation, and the spread of false information only serves to further isolate Russia on the world stage.