Russian Pranksters Trick Polish Leader. Again

This time, callers pose as French leader Macron
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 22, 2022 11:31 AM CST
Russian Pranksters Trick Polish Leader. Again
Polish President Andrzej Duda.   (AP Photo/Andrew Kravchenko, File)

Russian comedians pretending to be the French president tricked the Polish president, Andrzej Duda, into giving them sensitive information after a missile exploded in eastern Poland last week. Duda's office confirmed on Tuesday that he was put through last week to a person claiming to be France's president, Emmanuel Macron, per the AP. Duda's office said it was one of many international calls that the president received at a tense time on Nov. 15, just after a missile hit in eastern Poland close to the border with Ukraine, killing two men. NATO and Poland's leaders have said the missile most likely came from a Ukrainian air defense system that fired in response to a barrage of Russian attacks on Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

The office said that appropriate services are checking how the pranksters could have reached Duda—for the second time. In 2020, they talked to him posing as the UN secretary-general. In the new recording posted on YouTube by Russian pranksters Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, Duda can be heard thanking a man he believes to be Macron for calling. Speaking in English, Duda relays details of the missile incident, of his plans to request NATO consultations, and of being very careful not to exacerbate the situation with Russia, which invaded neighboring Ukraine on Feb. 24.

Over more than seven minutes, Duda, sounding stressed, tells the caller that President Biden doesn't blame Russia for the missile incident, but that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky insists it was a Russian-launched projectile. He says he himself is being "extra careful" not to blame Russia, but that Poland will seek security consultations with all of its NATO partners. The pranksters have previously embarrassed other European politicians, including Macron and then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as well as Elton John and Prince Harry with similar hoax calls. (The AP fired a reporter over an inaccurate story on the missile incident.)

(More Andrzej Duda stories.)

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