UK defense secretary reveals anti-tank missiles running low in call with Russian hoaxster

‘We’ve given you over 4,000. We’ve got more coming,’ defense secretary Ben Wallace tells someone posing as Ukraine’s PM

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The UK blamed Russia for hoax calls made last week to three cabinet ministers, calling it “standard practice” from the Kremlin as Vladimir Putin’s administration seeks to distract from its failings on the battlefield in Ukraine.

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Defense Secretary Ben Wallace and Home Secretary Priti Patel both said last week they’d received calls by impostors posing as the Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. A “similar attempt” was made to reach Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries but was unsuccessful, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman, Max Blain, reporter told on Monday.

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Vovan222prank, a popular Russian YouTube channel with over 100k subscribers known for prank calling high-profile individuals, engaged in a 22-minute video call with Wallace under the guise of speaking on behalf of the Ukrainian Prime Minister.

In the video now being circulated on social media, Wallace told the prankster that the UK’s supplies of NLAW anti-tank missiles are running low.

He then answers a phone call from actors pretending to be Shmyhal, asking Wallace to send more of the missiles because “the ones you sent earlier have failed.”

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmAEcZ4KEqc

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“I don’t think ours have failed,” Wallace replied. “We’ve given you over 4,000. We’ve got more coming. We’re running out of our own. But I speak to Minister Reznikov [head of Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence] every day.”

Wallace hit back against their stunt, saying “things must be going badly for the Kremlin” if it was resorting to “video fakes” after the footage emerged online.

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“This is standard practice for Russian information operations, and disinformation is a tactic straight from the Kremlin play book to try and distract from their illegal activities in Ukraine and the human rights abuses being committed there,” Blain said. “This is something that the Russian state tries repeatedly. It won’t be the last attempt, for sure.”

That the caller managed to connect to two high-ranking ministers raises questions about security and confidentiality at the top of the British government, and Blain said there’s an inquiry into the incidents.

Wallace told the Times newspaper it was a video call that he’d terminated after becoming suspicious when the person “posed several misleading questions.”

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