Two infamous Russian pranksters have released footage from a prank video call made to British Defense Minister Ben Wallace last week. And it was the British government blaming the Kremlin.
Defense Minister Ben Wallace and Interior Minister Priti Patel said last week that they were targeted by a phone call from a scammer, and Downing Street revealed that attempts to contact Culture Minister Nadin Dollies also failed.
Downing Street has accused the Russian state of hoaxes targeting British ministers.
On March 21, Russian hoaxes Vladimir “Boban” Kuznetsov and Alexei “Lexus” Striyarov posted an “official teaser” on the phone with Wallace online.
Wallace has been shown to be speaking from Poland as Ukraine wants to proceed with a “nuclear program” to protect itself from Moscow. This is a claim made by the Russian state media in the past.
After the footage was released, Wallace said, “The situation is very bad for the Kremlin and must rely on mischief and fake video.”
Critics have accused Russian hoaxes of linking to Russian security services, which they deny.
They have targeted prominent politicians and public figures in the past. They are allegedly behind a hoax phone that was targeted by callers impersonating the Prime Minister of Armenia when Boris Johnson was Foreign Minister in 2018.
An official spokesman for the Prime Minister said:
“This is the standard practice of Russian information operations, and disinformation is a tactic directly from the Kremlin’s playbook that seeks to distract from the illegal acts in Ukraine and the human rights abuses that are taking place there.
“We see a series of distraction stories and complete lies from the Kremlin, reflecting Putin’s despair trying to hide the scale of the conflict and Russia’s failure on the battlefield.”
Wallace was probably suspicious during a 10-minute video call at Microsoft Teams on March 17 with the Prime Minister of Ukraine.
He ordered an investigation into a security breach, and Defense Minister James Heepy said the defense minister was “extremely crossed” because it should not have been allowed to happen.
But Hepee knew that the targeted ministers wouldn’t discuss sensitive security issues with systems such as teams that Russians could easily listen to, so Britain’s national security was hoaxed. He expressed his conviction that he was not hurt by the call.
PA Media contributed to this report.