Russian Pranksters Trick Poland’s President Into Missile Talk
Polish President Andrzej Duda admitted to being tricked by a prankster pretending to be French President Emmanuel Macron.
(Bloomberg) -- Polish President Andrzej Duda admitted to being tricked by a prankster pretending to be French President Emmanuel Macron as he spoke with global leaders last week about a missile strike that killed two in a village near the border with Ukraine.
The president’s office said Tuesday in a Twitter post that Duda realized from “the unusual way” the conversation was taking place that it was probably a hoax and hung up. The “relevant services” took immediate steps to explain the incident, according to his office. Duda held numerous calls during the tense hours following the missile strike that raised fears of a significant escalation between NATO allies and Russia.
Russia’s state-run RIA Novosti news agency said a pair of Russians known for deceiving Western leaders -- including US politicians and former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson -- with hoax calls was responsible and posted what it said was a video of the conversation. In the seven-minute clip, Duda can be heard telling a man posing as Macron that he was extra careful in not blaming Moscow for the incident because he doesn’t want a war with Russia.
US and Polish authorities later attributed the blast to Ukrainian air-defense targeting a Russian missile. Earlier that day, the Kremlin had launched the most extensive strike on power infrastructure and other targets across Ukraine since its invasion in February.
It’s not the first hoax of this kind for the Polish president. In 2020, Duda was led to believe by Russian pranksters that his was talking to the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres.
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