‘Prank’ call with Ben Wallace surfaces as UK blames Kremlin for hoax calls

The Defence Secretary suggested the ‘video fakes’ is a sign of the invasion of Ukraine going badly for Russia.

21 March 2022

A “prank” video call with Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has surfaced after Britain blamed Vladimir Putin’s Russia for several hoaxes targeting Government ministers in the hope of securing sensitive or embarrassing information.

Mr Wallace suggested the invasion of Ukraine “must be going so badly for the Kremlin” as it resorted to releasing “video fakes” as the footage was published on Monday evening.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has also acknowledged having spoken to imposters posing as the Ukrainian prime minister, while an unsuccessful attempt was also made to target Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

An “official teaser” of the call with Mr Wallace appeared on a YouTube account claiming it was a “video-prank” with “Vovan and Lexus”, a pair previously attributed to a hoax aimed at the Duke of Sussex.

Mr Wallace is shown speaking from Poland as the caller, purporting to be Denys Shmyhal, says they want to continue a “nuclear programme” to protect itself from Russia.

A Ministry of Defence source said the video was “garbage”, adding: “It’s a doctored clip.

“What you don’t hear is the Defence Secretary also saying that the UK can’t have anything to do with alleged Ukrainian nuclear ambitions, because the UK is committed to the nuclear proliferation treaty.”

Mr Wallace did not appear to say anything particularly embarrassing or alarming in the video, but it did tout a “full interview” within “a few days”.

It was understood discussions were under way with YouTube to get the video removed.

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