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Russia behind hoax calls to UK ministers posing as Zelensky: Downing Street

Zelensky says 'confident Russia will lose this war'
Source: Video screenshot

Downing Street stated that Moscow was behind last week’s calls to the British defence and home secretaries, The Guardian reported Monday.

According to Downing Street, the Russian state was responsible for hoax calls to Ben Wallace and Priti Patel posing as the Ukrainian Prime Minister.

Downing Street said in its first statement blaming Russia for the video calls that it believed Russian state actors were to blame, but did not elaborate on who linked to the Kremlin had been identified as being behind the attempts.

There are fears in Whitehall that Russia will release doctored quotes of their comments for propaganda purposes. The culture secretary, Nadine Dorries, was also unsuccessfully targeted, according to The Guardian.

The UK Prime Minister’s official spokesperson said: “The Russian state was responsible for the hoax telephone calls made to UK ministers last week.

“This is standard practice for Russian information operations and disinformation is a tactic straight from the Kremlin playbook to try to distract from their illegal activities in Ukraine and the human rights abuses being committed there.”

Defence Secretary Wallace has publicly admitted that he was targeted shortly after his call on Thursday in an attempt to beat Moscow’s attempt to circulate footage from it.

An investigation into what happened has been launched, and a cross-Whitehall review is looking into tightening security procedures even further.

The caller who managed to reach Wallace pretended to be Ukraine Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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