Downing Street blames Russia for prank calls to senior UK ministers – POLITICO

LONDON (Reuters) – Russia is behind prank calls to British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel, Downing Street said on Monday.

Wallace said last week He had been called by a man pretending to be Prime Minister of Ukraine but ended the call after becoming suspicious when the “scam artist” asked “several misleading questions”. Patel said she received a similar call early last week.

At a briefing for journalists on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman told reporters the Russian state was “responsible for the fake phone calls made to British ministers last week”.

He said a similar unsuccessful attempt had been made to contact Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries.

“This is a common practice for Russian information operations, and disinformation is a tactic straight out of the Kremlin’s playbook to try to distract attention from the illegal activities in Ukraine and the human rights abuses being committed there,” the spokesman added. “We are seeing a series of diversionary stories and outright lies from the Kremlin that reflect Putin’s desperation as he seeks to hide the scale of the conflict and Russia’s failures on the battlefield.”

An investigation into the specific incidents is already underway. Downing Street blames Russia for prank calls to senior UK ministers - POLITICO

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