Wallace exposes Russian ‘dirty’ tricks after being targeted by ‘Ukrainian PM hoax call’

Ukraine invasion to mark end of 'arrogant' Putin says Ben Wallace

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The Defence Secretary, along with other senior members of the Government, has been in close contact with Ukrainian officials since Russia launched its invasion late last month. But what at first appeared to have been one of these calls earlier today, on Thursday, was soon “terminated” after the caller was found out to be a hoax.

Mr Wallace wrote in a post on Twitter: “Today an attempt was made by an imposter claiming to be Ukrainian PM to speak with me.

“He posed several misleading questions and after becoming suspicious I terminated the call.”

He added: “No amount of Russian disinformation, distortion and dirty tricks can distract from Russia’s human rights abuses and illegal invasion of Ukraine.

“A desperate attempt.”

That the caller was able to get through to the Defence Secretary’s office – and, it appears, to the man himself – has raised some questions.

The Bureau Global Editor James Ball responded to Mr Wallace’s post noting: “[It is] somewhat worrying that an imposter can get through to the Defence Secretary.”

Pippa Crerar, political editor at the Mirror, also wrote: “Although the Defence Secretary quickly became suspicious, that the hoaxer got through to him in the first place will set alarm bells ringing on Whitehall.”

She added this was “not the first time this has happened”.

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The hoax phone call came after the release of a ‘deepfake’ video – where images are digitally altered to make it appear as though the subject is doing (or, in this case, saying) something they are not – of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

In the video, posted on Facebook, Mr Zelensky is made to appear as though he told his country their efforts in the war against Russia “have failed”.

The message stated: “My advice to you is to lay down arms and return to your families. It is not worth it dying in this war.

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“My advice to you is to live. I am going to do the same.”

The video has been widely criticised for attempting to spread disinformation.

It was removed by Facebook a matter of hours after it was posted.

Also on Thursday, the UK Ministry of Defence announced it will deploy a Sky Sabre Air Defence System to Poland, along with 100 personnel to operate it.

This came upon Poland’s request.

The Ministry commented: “Sky Sabre has unprecedented speed, accuracy, performance and target acquisition, which will significantly enhance Poland’s air defences.”

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