Two UK ministers have acknowledged that they have received prank calls related to the Ukraine war. After reporting that a guy had contacted him previously purporting to be Ukraine’s prime minister, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace accused Russian “dirty tactics.” After the “imposter” asked “many false questions,” he got suspicious and stopped the call, he added. Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, subsequently tweeted that she had had a similar call earlier in the week.
Mr Wallace, according to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), has requested an urgent investigation into what transpired. The source of the call was not immediately known, but Mr Wallace related it to Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.
Mr Wallace said of the request in a tweet: “Russia’s deception, distortion, and dirty techniques will not be able to divert attention away from its human rights violations and unlawful invasion of Ukraine. A last-ditch effort.” Ms Patel responded to him shortly after, saying: “This occurred to me earlier this week as well. At such a tough time, it’s a pitiful attempt to separate us. Ukraine has our support “.
‘Russian misinformation,’ as the phrase goes. It was a “quite sophisticated” video conversation, according to a Ministry of Defence source, and it wasn’t made to Mr Wallace’s phone. The fact that the call originated from “another government agency” added to the source’s legitimacy.
Mr Wallace was reportedly connected to a Microsoft Teams video chat that lasted around ten minutes. After an email supposedly from a Ukrainian embassy assistant in London was submitted to a government agency and then passed to the Ministry of Defence, the video conversation was set up.
According to the BBC, someone acting as Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in front of a Ukrainian flag called Mr Wallace and asked him a series of “crazy questions.”
“Despite all attempts of Russian misinformation, the world can see that the truth is behind Ukraine,” Mr Shmyhal said in a tweet to Mr Wallace.
Denys Shmyhal has been Ukraine’s Prime Minister since March 2020, as shown here during a news conference in January. Mr Wallace was questioned about Nato and the status of the Ukraine-Russia discussions during the conversation, according to the defence source.
Mr Wallace was reportedly quizzed on whether the United Kingdom would send warships to the Black Sea and if Ukraine should be given nuclear weapons.
The military secretary was also reportedly quizzed on the possibility of Ukraine abandoning its Nato ambitions and becoming a “neutral” state. Mr Wallace “was given leading questions to promote incorrect statements,” according to the defence source, but he “didn’t say anything that wasn’t true or appropriate.”
However, defence sources believe there was an attempt to falsify or manipulate Mr Wallace’s replies before he hung up the phone. When Mr Wallace tweeted the tweet about the fake call, he was in Warsaw, Poland’s capital.
The appeals come at a crucial time for peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russia, as President Vladimir Putin’s three-week-old war continues to take a toll on civilians.
While imposing punitive economic sanctions on Russia, the UK government has been giving military and humanitarian help to Ukraine.
Since the commencement of the war, British and Ukrainian ministers, notably Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, have held frequent talks.