Officials believe more clips will appear after a one-minute, 39-second “preview” clip of Defense Secretary Ben Wallace being asked about Ukraine’s “nuclear program” surfaced online
The UK has accused Russia of issuing “overworked rubbish” after a video prank call with the defense secretary surfaced today.
Ben Wallace can be seen via video link in the back of a vehicle in Poland when asked about Ukraine’s “nuclear program” by a man he was told was Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
The “teaser” video is one minute and 39 seconds long, heavily edited and with few comments from Mr Wallace, including: “Russia would really hate that.”
He gave no assurances about the “nuclear program” but said he had to speak to his prime minister.
Mr Wallace didn’t appear to say anything embarrassing or sensitive in the video, but it did announce a “full interview” within “a couple of days”.
It was one of three attempted false calls, Britain said. Scammers also got through to Home Secretary Priti Patel and tried to get through to Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries but failed.
A Department of Defense source said the video was “garbage,” adding, “It’s a manipulated clip.
“What you don’t hear is the Defense Secretary also saying that Britain can have nothing to do with alleged Ukrainian nuclear ambitions because Britain is committed to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.”
The clip claimed it was a “video prank” involving “Vovan and Lexus,” a couple previously attributed to a hoax aimed at the Duke of Sussex.
Lexus and Vovan have previously targeted Sir Elton John, a vocal opponent of Russia’s “gay propaganda laws”, critics of the Kremlin and world leaders including Canadian Justin Trudeau.
Critics have accused the couple, real names Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov, of having ties to Russian security services, which they deny.
Mr Wallace said at the time of the incident last week he believed Russia was to blame.
Yesterday Downing Street officially pointed the finger at the Kremlin.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Russian state was responsible for the fake phone calls made to British ministers last week.
“This is common practice for Russian information operations, and disinformation is a tactic straight out of the Kremlin playbook to try to distract from their illegal activities in Ukraine and the human rights abuses being committed there.
“We are seeing a series of diversionary stories and outright lies from the Kremlin that reflect Putin’s desperation as he tries to hide the scale of the conflict and Russia’s failures on the battlefield.”
Officials were understood to be lobbying a website to remove Mr Wallace’s video.
When the appeal was published, Mr Wallace suggested that the invasion of Ukraine “must have gone so badly for the Kremlin” if it resorted to “fake video”.
Senior government sources feared Russia might try to tamper with footage obtained from the calls to embarrass Britain.
Britain has launched an investigation into the calls, accusing Russia of “desperation” and using “dirty tricks”.
Mr. Wallace became suspicious that something was wrong during a 10-minute video call to Microsoft Teams last Thursday.
He claimed the caller was asking about British military movements and he ended the call after “several misleading questions”.
Armed Forces Secretary James Heappey said last week: “He was very aware that he was in a conversation with Microsoft Teams and as such he would never disclose sensitive details on a platform that could be very easily intercepted and overheard .
“And the call was therefore quite boring I think, from what Ben explained to me last night when the call started asking more specific questions about our military intentions in the region, Ben knew full well that this wasn’t the type of question is nobody would normally ask in teams.
“And so he got pretty suspicious and ended the conversation.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/uk-fury-russias-garbage-doctored-26524975 Britain furious as Russia's 'garbage-doctored' hoax with top Tory Ben Wallace emerges