Ukraine war: Russia responsible for hoax calls to cabinet ministers last week, Downing Street confirms

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Russia was responsible for hoax calls made to cabinet ministers last week and an inquiry is under way, Downing Street has confirmed.

Boris Johnson’s spokesman urged people not to spread disinformation if video clips emerge relating to the calls.

Last week, it was revealed Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was video-called by an imposter posing as Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.

Mr Wallace, a former soldier, went public about the attempted sting because of fears the Kremlin may try to distort any footage or audio material to undermine the UK and NATO’s efforts in Ukraine.

Home Secretary Priti Patel then revealed she was also recently targeted by a hoax caller.

Mr Johnson’s spokesman said on Monday: “The Russian state was responsible for the hoax telephone calls made to UK ministers last week.

“This is standard practice for Russian information operations, and disinformation is a tactic straight from the Kremlin playbook – to try and distract from the illegal activities in Ukraine and the human rights abuses being committed.”

He said the calls should never have happened so an inquiry has been launched.

“We are urging people not to aid the Russian state’s efforts to undermine the international community’s response to what’s happening in Ukraine by highlighting this or promoting it in any way,” he added.

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