Russian Pranksters Call Angela Merkel

February 20, 2023

Russian pranksters managed to call former German Chancellor Angela Merkel and pose as former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Merkel’s office said Monday.

The pranksters said to Merkel that they wanted to discuss developments in Ukraine and Belarus. Merkel, however, appeared suspicious during the call. 

According to Merkel’s office, the call occurred on January 12. Someone on the other line claimed to be Poroshenko during a conversation that was assisted by a German-Ukrainian interpreter from the German Foreign Ministry’s language service.

In an emailed statement, Merkel’s office said she informed the ministry afterward about the “impression that she gained of the caller during the call,” but didn’t elaborate on what that was.

Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, known as Vovan and Lexus, posted on their Telegram channel what they said were excerpts from their call to Merkel. The prankster duo has previously placed calls to other European politicians, including French President Emmanuel Macron, Polish President Andrzej Duda and then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. They’ve also pulled similar pranks on Elton John and Prince Harry.

News of the call to Merkel comes after Germany played host to 35 nations at the 2023 Munich Security Conference over the weekend. During the conference U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Vice President Harris warned China against providing weapons to Russia, which on Friday will mark one year since its invasion of Ukraine.

During her call with the pranksters, Merkel discussed the controversial 2015 Minsk II peace agreement between Poroshenko and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which she brokered along with then-French President Francois Hollande. Merkel asserted on the call that Minsk II had bought precious time for Ukraine.

During the call Merkel also criticized autocratic repression in Belarus.

Poroshenko was Ukraine’s President from 2014 until 2019. Merkel was Chancellor of Germany from 2005 until the end of 2021.

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