UK believes Kremlin behind prank call to Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson

Lester Mason
May 25, 2018

Russian pranksters pretended to be the Armenian prime minister in a call to Mr Johnson, during which he discussed the UK's relationship with Moscow and the nerve agent attack on former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia.

That attack triggered a wave of expulsions from Russia's embassies around the world, which in turn led to a concerted propaganda campaign by the Kremlin to discredit Britain's account of the incident.

The statement did not say when the call was made but it is thought to have been recorded on May 14, as the real leader of Armenia was to hold a meeting with the Russian president that day.

He added that "if I have a message to Putin, it's that we don't want a Cold War but we do want to see an improvement in the way Russian Federation behaves".

Vovan and Lexus are known in Russian Federation for targeting celebrities and politicians with their audacious stunts, and in 2015 they prank-called British singer Elton John.

"Obviously this should not have happened", said a spokeswoman.

Johnson congratulated the fake Pashinyan on his "remarkable success".

During the call the prankster gets a laugh from the foriegn secretary when he asks for advice on how to deal with Vladimir Putin, saying: "I hope he will not poison me with Novichok".

"I think it's very important for the Russians to know that, certainly the United Kingdom, is absolutely determined to stand firm against them".

"You throw a stone in Kensington and you'll hit an oligarch", Johnson said, in reference to the central London district favored by Russian tycoons.

Asked about British confidence in their assessment that Putin was behind the assassination attempt, Johnson said: "We're, like, nearly 100 percent sure".

Johnson seemed particularly interested in the prankster's claim that Putin said he could influence opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn.

"I'm sure our intelligence will be listening on this line and will draw the relevant conclusions", Johnson said.

"Thank you very much for that interesting titbit of information".

But despite his penchant for colourful rhetoric, Johnson stuck closely to official British policy throughout the call and eventually stopped replying altogether.

"The Foreign Secretary realized it was a hoax and ended the call".

A Foreign Office spokesperson said staff "checked it out and knew immediately it was a prank call".

It says "the use of chemical weapons in Salisbury and Syria and recent events in Armenia are serious matters".

The foreign secretary spoke for 18 minutes about Putin, Russian poisonings and global affairs.

"These childish actions show the lack of seriousness of the caller and those behind him".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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