German spies issue warning over Russian pranksters – Bild —

Intelligence officials in Berlin have reportedly accused Moscow of using impersonators to discredit Western governments

German officials have been warned to be wary of Russian scammers when answering phone calls, Bild reported. The media cited a memorandum from the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV), which claimed that Moscow was using impersonators to undermine Western governments.

Several senior European officials, including Latvian Foreign Minister Krisjanis Karins and Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, have been caught up in fake phone calls from Russian duo Vovan and Lexus in recent months, during which the politicians revealed their thoughts on sensitive topics such as the conflict in Ukraine. .

Bild newspaper claimed in a report on Tuesday that it had seen a warning sent by the German domestic intelligence service to the mayor of Hamburg and senators, urging them to take the necessary measures. “Precautionary measures against current Russian disinformation campaign.”

The outlet also quoted an anonymous BfV officer as saying that “Fake identity fraud is being deliberately used to spread false information and publicly make Western politicians look like idiots.” Bild’s source went on to claim this “This is part of the Russian intelligence strategy.”

On Tuesday, Vovan and Lexus – real names Vladimir Kuznetsov and Alexei Stolyarov – released a recording of a video call he had with Latvian Foreign Minister Karens, who previously served as prime minister. The two men, posing as a senior African official, asked the diplomat about topics including Western support for Ukraine.

Karens admitted that most European countries do as well “I’m not happy” about the high price they pay for defending Kiev, claiming, however, that the general consensus is that there is no other option.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry later confirmed that Karens had been the subject of a prank.

Russian comedians also recently spoke with the Prime Minister of neighboring Estonia, Kaja Kallas.

The duo’s prank call with Italian Prime Minister Meloni, dating back to late September but made public in early November, has perhaps received the most media attention.

In the conversation, the Italian leader admitted that this had happened “Too much fatigue” With the Ukrainian conflict, arguing that it was imminent “The moment when everyone understands that we need a way out.”

According to Italian media, Meloni was angry after she discovered that she had been deceived, and later insisted that her statements were basically… “Nothing new.”

However, a diplomatic advisor to Meloni’s office resigned earlier this month, and the Prime Minister blamed the incident on a group of people. “Superficiality in behavior”

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