Russian pranksters are calling Merkel a former leader of Ukraine

Russian pranksters are calling Merkel a former leader of Ukraine

BERLIN (AP) — Russian pranksters posing as former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko were able to contact Angela Merkel by phone to discuss developments in Ukraine and Belarus, though the former German chancellor was wary of the entire call, Merkel’s office said Monday.

Merkel’s office said the former German leader received a call on January 12 from someone claiming to be Poroshenko. The conversation was facilitated by a German-Ukrainian interpreter from the language service of the German Foreign Ministry

In an emailed statement, the office said Merkel later informed the ministry of “the impression she had about the caller during the call,” but did not elaborate.

Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, posted on their Telegram channels what they said were excerpts of the call. The pair have previously embarrassed European politicians including French President Emmanuel Macron, Polish President Andrzej Duda and then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as Elton John and Prince Harry with similar hoax calls.

In the recording, Merkel said — as she has done publicly before — that the much-criticized Minsk peace deal bought Ukraine valuable time. Merkel and former French President Francois Hollande brokered a peace deal with Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2015. He also criticized the repression of authoritarian Belarus

Poroshenko was the President of Ukraine from 2014 to 2019. Merkel leads Germany from 2005 until the end of 2021.

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