Defense minister fumes over fake Ukraine call
British Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has accused Russia of “dirty tricks” and ordered a security investigation into how someone pretending to be the prime minister of Ukraine could have phoned him on Thursday.
“Today an attempt was made by an imposter claiming to be Ukrainian PM to speak with me,” Wallace tweeted on Thursday morning, saying he “terminated the call” after the man “posed several misleading questions” that made him suspicious. Wallace denounced the call as an example of “Russian disinformation, distortion and dirty tricks,” offering no evidence.
Home Secretary Priti Patel chimed in, saying this also happened to her “earlier this week,” calling it a “pathetic attempt at such difficult times to divide us.”
Her Labour shadow Holly Lynch called it “worrying” that someone fraudulently managed to gain access to two of UK’s most senior government ministers in charge of defense, telling The Guardian that “an urgent investigation must look into how this happened so the necessary steps can be taken to avoid any more such incidents.”
Reuters later reported that Wallace had ordered just such an investigation.
Ukrainian PM Denys Shmyhal has kept a low profile since the start of the conflict, with President Volodymyr Zelensky doing most of Kiev’s public relations outreach in the West.
Mere minutes before Wallace tweeted about his mystery caller, Ukrainian Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov posted on Facebook that Kiev’s Western allies should be on the lookout for “lords of war” seeking to profit from the flow of military aid to his country.
“Such characters introduce themselves as ‘advisers’, ‘assistants’, ‘heads of departments’, and even present fake ‘documents’ to prove their ‘official positions’,” Reznikov said, but are in fact “scum, looters and traitors” seeking to line their own pockets or help the enemy. He urged Western governments to double-check everyone’s credentials with Ukraine’s embassies or military attaches, and turn in all imposters to police.